Biography

José de Paiva Netto, writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet, was born on March 2, 1941, in Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brazil. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI), of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI Inter), of the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), of the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, of the Union of Radio Broadcasters of the State of Rio de Janeiro, of the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, and of the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC).

He has received countless tributes, among them being awarded the Medal of the 1st Centenary of the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL); he was named Commander of the Order of Rio Branco by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and awarded the Commander Degree, by the Council of the Order of Aeronautical Merit; and the Peacemaker Medal, by the Brazilian Ministry of Defense. Find out more about the tributes paid to Paiva Netto.

Early life

He is the first-born child of Idalina Cecília (1913-1994) and Bruno Simões de Paiva (1911-2000)—whose best man at their wedding was Dorival Caymmi (1914-2008)—and the brother of Lícia Margarida (1942-2010). His childhood and youth were marked by an uncommon concern over spiritual, philosophical, educational, social, political, scientific, and economic issues and by a deep sense of assistance for those in need.

He studied at the traditional Colégio Pedro II in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, where he received the title of “Eminent Student” and was honored with a bronze plaque at the headquarters of this respected model school. Paiva Netto was still a teenager when in 1956 he started working alongside the late founder of the Legion of Good Will, the Brazilian journalist, radio broadcaster, writer, poet, and thinker Alziro Zarur (1914-1979). It is worth mentioning that one of his first contacts with the cause of Good Will was established precisely on June 29 of that year.

Regarding his beginning at the LGW, Paiva Netto recalls, “In 1953, in Rio de Janeiro, when I was 12 years old, I received from the hands of a beautiful black lady a pamphlet published by the LGW. Three years had passed and, on a certain morning, I woke up with a strong desire to turn on the radio. When I did that, I listened on the Tamoio station [later it would become Mundial] to the moving composition by Joseph Möhr (1792-1848) and Franz Grüber (1787-1863), Silent Night: it was June 29, 1956. Intrigued, I exclaimed: Mother, Christmas music in June?! Afterwards Zarur began to read a passage from the Gospel of Jesus according to Luke, 2:14, in which the Angels announce the Celestial Birth of Jesus: ‘Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth to People of Good Will!’ After listening to his preaching, I became convinced: Mom, I like this man’s speech! I will follow him!!”

Moreover, he emphasizes, “My heart had been awakened to this Sublime ideal. And, on the same day that Saint Peter and Saint Paul are honored, I grabbed my bicycle and voluntarily went to the streets to ask for help for the Organization.”

With the purpose of dedicating himself fully to the LGW, Paiva Netto left behind his vocation for Medicine. Later on, he became the Secretary-General of the Legion of Good Will (position equivalent to that of Vice President), and with the passing away of Zarur, he took his place at the head of the Organization.

Achievements

As the head of the Legion of Good Will since 1979, he has multiplied the actions of the Organization in the areas of education and human and social promotion through its assistance units, which include model schools of compulsory education, homes for the elderly, and social service centers. These units serve for even bigger projects to which Paiva Netto has dedicated himself for a very long time: Education with all-encompassing Ecumenical Spirituality, based on a groundbreaking teaching line (he himself created), which proposes a new learning model that combines brain and heart. Comprising the Pedagogy of Affection and the Ecumenical Citizen Pedagogy, this educational proposal is successfully applied in the LGW’s own teaching network and in its social and educational programs.

The ideals of Good Will have no borders and have reached many other countries. Such solidary initiatives are currently present at the LGW of Argentina, of Bolivia, of Paraguay, of Portugal, of Uruguay, and of the United States, in addition to many other regions in the world. They are maintained by donations from the local population. 

Because of the wide reach of its programs and the excellence of its work, the Legion of Good Will has earned the recognition of the United Nations (UN). In 1994, the LGW became a member of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). In 1999, it was the first Brazilian civil society organization to obtain general consultative status (the highest level) at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In 2000, it became a member of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO), with its Headquarters in Vienna, Austria. In 2004, the LGW co-founded the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns at the United Nations.

Inauguration of the Temple of Good Will and of the LGW’s Parlamundi

On October 21, 1989, Paiva Netto founded the Temple of Good Will (TGW) in Brasília/DF, Brazil, in the presence of more than 50,000 people. The Temple of Peace is the hub of Divine Ecumenism, which proclaims the socio-spiritual relationship between the creature and the Creator. This is why it is also known as the Temple of the Luminous Spirits or of the Blessed Souls, since, after all, it proclaims that the dead do not die.

Admired by many for its bold architecture, which reflects its universal Spirituality, the TGW is considered to be the largest seven-sided pyramid-shaped construction of the 20th century by the traditional newspaper Diário de Notícias (Lisbon, Portugal). Acclaimed by the people as one of the Seven Wonders of Brasília, the TGW is the most visited monument in the city, according to official data from the State Tourism Secretariat of the Federal District (SETUR/DF).

In 1994, at the Christmas of Jesus and in the presence of more than 100,000 people, Paiva Netto also inaugurated the World Parliament of Ecumenical Fraternity, the LGW’s ParlaMundi, built next to the Temple of Peace. Since then, the LGW’s ecumenical complex has been attracting more than 1 million pilgrims every year.

Commendation of the Order of Merit of Ecumenical Fraternity

In order to honor the personalities who distinguish themselves in their fields of endeavor towards the diffusion of Peace and Solidarity in Brazil and in the world, Paiva Netto has created the Commendation of the Order of Merit of Ecumenical Fraternity, an award which, since 1996, is given on an annual basis. Among those who have already received the LGW’s Commendation are the statesmen Mário Soares, former President and former Prime Minister of Portugal, and Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and the first black President of South Africa, from 1994 to 1999; Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, Tibetan leader and Nobel Peace Prize in 1989; the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (1938-2018); the “Athlete of the Century”, Pelé; the Spiritist medium Francisco Cândido Xavier (1910-2002); and Dom Hélder Câmara (1909-1999), former Archbishop of the cities of Olinda and Recife, of the Brazilian State of Pernambuco. In addition to these, other great names from several branches of the Brazilian society and of the world were also honored by a special session of the Order of Merit of Ecumenical Fraternity, delivered on the occasion of the Brazilian Day, in New York (USA), which is held annually in the heart of Manhattan to celebrate the Independence of Brazil. This festival receives every year more than a million people, establishing itself as one of the Big Apple’s most popular gatherings.

The LGW’s World Spirit and Science Forum

The LGW’s president also created in the year 2000 the LGW’s World Forum Spirit and Science, which became the greatest world movement of this nature in forming new paradigms of human thought, founded on the convergence and on the interchange between the scientific knowledge and the several religious traditions. This Forum has already counted on the presence of many notables such as the North American astronaut Edgar Mitchell, member of the Apollo 14 crew and the sixth man to walk on the moon; Alexander Lazutkin, the Russian cosmonaut who was part of the crew of the MIR-23 Mission; the quantum physicists and writers Amit Goswami (from the United States), Patrick Drouot (from France) and Waldyr Rodrigues (from Brazil); the Brazilian astronomer Ronaldo Rogério de Freitas Mourão (1935-2014); the French psychologist and educator Pierre Weil (1924-2008); and the Tibetan Lama Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, aside from other important personalities. The event proposes more than a permanent theoretical debate, stimulating the implementation of its proposals in the pragmatic field of society’s achievements. He also founded in 2007 the Jesus, the Ecumenical Christ, the Divine Statesman Academy, composed of the Institute for Study and Research on Science of the Soul and of the Institute for Study, Research, and Experience of the New Commandment of Jesus.

In order to spread Spiritual Citizenship (a concept he advocates), Paiva Netto created the Super Good Will Communications Network (radio, TV, the Internet, and publications). He is a writer of international reputation and the author of many best-sellers.