'World Citizen No. 1' Dies Stateless

Garry Davis founded 'world passport' movement
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2013 4:48 AM CDT
Updated Jul 29, 2013 7:36 AM CDT
Davis' organization issued more than half a million World Passports.   (Wikipedia/Sakuradate)

(Newser) – Former American citizen Garry Davis has died after decades of statelessness as a "citizen of the world." Davis, who was 91, renounced his nationality and all others in 1948 and was arrested many times in the following years as he tried to travel the world with a "World Passport" he had devised, the New York Times reports. As "World Citizen No. 1," he founded the World Government of World Citizens, which has issued more than half a million World Passports and claims 150 countries have recognized them at one time or another.

Davis—a former Broadway actor whose views were shaped by the loss of his brother in World War II and his own guilt at having bombed German civilians as a B-17 pilot—believed getting rid of borders could bring about world peace. "We, the people, want the peace which only a world government can give," he declared after storming a United Nations General Assembly session in 1948. "The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of total war." In his later years, he stopped traveling and settled in Vermont, but remained politically active: He sent a World Passport to Julian Assange last year, and the Voice of Russia reports he issued one to Edward Snowden earlier this month as well. (Click for another fascinating obituary.)

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