World War Zero is the brainchild of Simon G. Ionashku (the author). The seeds for the World War Zero (AKA: WW0) initiative were planted back in 2010 when I was attending the University of Memphis studying bio-medical engineering – an idea over 7 years in the making (time to take it to the next level).

It all started as a homework assignment in my intro to bio-medical engineering class. The assignment was simple. Pick a major world health problem and come up with a solution. “It doesn’t matter how big or how small the problem or the solution might be. Don’t hold back – think big.” – those were the instructions. So I decided that I was going to pick the biggest health problem in the world and propose a solution.

From the moment I first saw the statistics for world hunger, I knew I would have to do something about it – what an outrage! Hunger? How can THAT still be an issue? I remember being in the college library with my mouth open and eyes bulging as I stared at the staggering figures – it was a major turning point in my life.

I was born in the Ukraine and moved to the states at a young age but I grew up hearing many stories about battles with hunger in my family history (especially those surrounding World War 2) and these left a lasting impression on me. My grandparents still tell stories of famine and wide-spread hunger that ravished the country-side during and after World War II. Many members of our extended family were forced to deal with the imposing threat of death by starvation. Growing up, I assumed that those dark days were ancient history – I believed that those horror stories were a thing of the past. When I learned how many people die of hunger and hunger-related illnesses year after year, I was blown away. Adding insult to injury, I then learned that there is more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet! This sparked my interest in world hunger and other extreme poverty issues. My obsession grew as I began reading book after book on the topic unable to put them down. I began researching the causes of hunger and all the various different strategies to defeat it. So basically, long story short (or short story long),


the follow presentation outlines my proposed solution to world hunger and other preventable causes… Tada!

SPOILER ALERT: I haven’t found the magic bullet for world hunger yet but I’m starting to put a few pieces together at this point. I believe that starting a show like World War Zero will help to exponentially increase the probability that we might stumble on a clever solution or two. That’s why we want the show to be highly entertaining while also being educational by bring the best experts on board to discuss a “plan of attack”…

Spoiler alert, I haven’t figured it out yet but I want to start a show that is both educational and entertaining about a mad scientist on a quest to solve the riddle. The thing about hunger though is that it’s connected to so many other problems. Such as extreme poverty, poor access to health care, unsafe drinking water, vulnerability to climate change shocks (the rains don’t fall consistently like they used – that’s what I’ve heard many farmers tell me). I concluded that the best way to frame the solution is through the lens of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (AKA: the U.N. SDGs). That’s when I realized that step 1 would have to be to educate people about the SDGs and why they are so important to future peace and prosperity. Hunger is deeply connected to each of the Sustainable Development Goals, believe it or not. Actually it makes total sense because with out good nutrition, especially from a young age, the body simply doesn’t develop properly and this has enormous consequences on the poor and the communities they live in. Let’s take a closer look at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and then we’ll see about how they are connected to the “Zero Goals” of World War Zero.





That’s it, those are the 2 zero goals of World War Zero. Zero Hunger and Zero Poverty – it’s just that simple (sarcasm). Hunger and poverty go hand in hand but World War Zero will focus very specifically on a very under-served subset of those goals – EXTREME POVERTY and EXTREME HUNGER. The SDGs are great but they’ve come under heavy criticism for being to broad and way overly ambitious. For instance Objective 1 of Goal 1 states: ”

SDG GOAL 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. (Very Vague)


World War Zero will “Zero-in” on EXTREME POVERTY.

And since the poorest people are also mostly the same people battling EXTREME HUNGER, we call them by the same name.




When we talk about our “Frontline Warriors” we are talking about extremely poor people battling life with almost zero money (economic ammunition). That’s fundamentally what World War Zero is all about – the battle for survival for those living between $1.25 per day and ZERO.

During my internship at Walla Walla University, a small seedling of an idea began to grow. As I was recruiting student’s to the School of Engineering’s Global Humanitarian Engineering program, I experimented with different pitches. I found that I got very enthusiastic responses when I framed in a similar way as is depicted in the Basic Training portion of the Zero Army Enlistment program. After further refining the presentation through trial and error and the application of advanced psychological theories, applied mathematics, economics and even a little rocket surgery, the perfect delivery system for this epic show concept was conceived,

This presentation has been found to have such a powerful effect on subjects, that some people have reported an intense desire to sell all of their worldly possessions and give to the poor. Proceed with caution, soldier… C4 is explosive… now here’s a sneak preview…

So what is World War Zero anyway?

Well, in a nutshell, WW0 is both a reframing of the SDGs (to their idealized “Zero Goals”) and the most aggressive implementation of the concept of non-violent GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN WARFARE ever witnessed in the history of the world (Do I have your attention now?). Some might say that this war began in the year 2000 when the United Nations set the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of 8 major goals due to be achieved by 2015 (which mostly fell short, unfortunately). In 2015, the MDGs were updated to reflect the need for sustainable practices so they were updated and reworked into the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) – a set of 17 major goals due to be achieved by 2030. One could make the argument, however, that World War Zero has been raging since the dawn of human history. Much progress has been made on many different fronts, but much work remains to be done in order to achieve these ambitious sustainable development goals. One advantage of the World War Zero approach to the global goals is that since the framing of these goals is idealized (as “zero goals”), the organization is poised to adapt to changes to the goals such as when the U.N. changes the goals and objectives in 2030. For example, it was not very difficult for me to update and expand the goals within the the World War Zero framework I was building when they were changed from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. This, I believe, will provide more continuity to the global goals. In fact, World War Zero aims to become the premiere global citizenship training program with world class education modules such as Basic Training and Bootcamp. The Bootcamp program will strive to provide the sort of in-depth rigor that would satisfy a university board and compel them to implement our advanced training “games” into their curriculum. To acheive such a lofty goal will require buy-in from leading experts around the world, of course, and so we aim to foster as many positive relationships with these leading world experts by featuring them (with proper WW0-style accolades and honorary ranking designations) on the World War Zero edutainment show. Note: Edutainment = Education + Entertainment

World War Zero is both an edutainment show and the world’s first Real-Life Real-Time Strategy/Role Playing Game (RL-RTS/RPG Game) where the enemies of mankind are anthropomorphized as villains and destroyed with a combination of different strategies such as policy and advocacy efforts but the primary weapons systems used to destroy enemy units is ECONOMIC AMMUNITION. The Zero Corp is working on a special class of weapons systems called WMDs (Weapons of Mass Donations). That’s all we’re going to say about that since most of these “weapons systems” involve highly sophisticated technologies being developed by highly CLASSIFIED special operations teams (Special Ops). Note: WW0 is a non-violent movement where the enemies are very strictly defined as NON-HUMAN – so we have NO HUMAN ENEMIES. All people are considered allies by default. None of the funds raised through any WW0 “weapons systems” can go to fund violent conflicts.


World War Zero will initially focus on SDG 1 and 2 primarily. If we can achieve SDG 1 and SDG 2 in a manner consistent with the other 17 SDGs (In harmony with society and the earth), the outlook for 2030 might be more optimistic than it currently stands. To help this effort move forward more effectively World War Zero proposes conscripting a volunteer army of warriors dedicated to the advancement of theses zero goals. This volunteer army will be known as the ZERO ARMY. The finest fighting force ever assembled against the enemy.




These divisions encompass the 3-pronged strategy that is currently being implemented in the battle for zero.

  1. The U.N. ZERO COALITION division can be thought of most broadly as the SET OF ALL WORLD GOVERNMENTS (AKA: The U.N.). When speaking about a “zero coalition” member, we’re talking about a country. This is just world war zero vocabulary to help us analyze strategic initiatives in a “military-sounding” way. Some examples: USA, China, UK, France, Russia the Central African Republic, Syria, Yemen, etc. are all members of the U.N. Zero Coalition Force.
  2. The CIVIL SOCIETY FOR ZERO division can be thought of most broadly as the set of all non-profits, charities, and other Non-Governmental Organizations fighting to keep the enemy at bay on the frontlines and also on the home front. Some examples: ADRA, World Vision, Peta, Green Peace, Unicef, the Red Cross, etc…
  3. The ZERO CORP division can be thought of most broadly as the set of all for-profit companies. These are the great lumbering economic titans that have vast resources and exceptional capability for massive-rapid impact if they can be properly “WEAPONIZED”, as we say in WW0 parlance. To WEAPONIZE something means to turn it into an instrument of advocacy, fundraising or some other special operations initiative. Some examples: Coca-cola, Apple, Microsoft, the Yum Corporation, Mckee foods, Macy’s, etc…

The ZERO ARMY can also be thought of as a type of division. The Zero Army can be thought of most broadly as the set of all World War Zero warriors, which according to the WW0 warriors philosophy includes everybody (by default). This is because, by definition, if you’ve ever had to battle hunger, any type of disease, inequality issues, unemployment, pollution, etc. then you are considered an un-enlisted private of the Zero Army. This ties in with the World War Zero warrior philosophy.


We’re all fighting the same battles. Everyday we’re fighting extreme poverty (SDG 1), every day we’re fighting hunger (SDG 2), preventable disease (SDG 3), to staying educated (SDG 4), Gender Inequality (SDG 5), Unsafe drinking water (SDG 6)… Etc. The only difference between you and our frontline warriors is that you’re winning most of these battles and they’re not always winning. Sometimes they’re losing very badly. For example: About 11 Million frontline warriors die every year battling hunger (SDG 2), about 10 Million warriors die every year because they can’t afford medicine for treatment (SDG 3), over 57 Million children are out of school (SDG 4). Etc. We’re all in this together so grab your rifle, pack some of your E-Class ammo, and prepare to take the fight to the enemy on the frontlines.

World War Zero – the show…


The WW0 show aims to be educational and entertaining – edutaining. I think it’s very important to keep it entertaining because I’ve listened to some incredibly important thinkers in this arena but their message has very few views on youtube or anywhere else because they’re presentations are just so boring! We’re not going to make that mistake at WW0. We MUST make it entertaining and educational – that’s the key to victory. The key to keeping it interesting will be a unique blend of colorful characters interacting with the real world in comical and dramatic ways. The show initially centers around one key figure – commander four (AKA: C4). Commander 4 is in charge of the 4th quadrant (which we’ll explain later). The 4th quadrant is occupied by the ZERO CORP. The Zero Corp represents a more “free-market” approach to poverty alleviation that emphasizes empowerment over emergency relief (emergency relief is the specialty of the Civil Society for Zero – a quadrant 3 emphasis). There’s an old Chinese proverb which says:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he feeds himself for a lifetime.”

So the ZERO CORP is focused more on the “teaching a man/woman” how to fish aspect of international development – in partnership with for-profit companies. Now the U.N. Zero Coalition and the Civil Society for Zero will most certainly also teach empowerment but the ZERO CORP will focus on doing that through a more “free-market” strategy. For example: Crop insurance for poor farmers and providing low interest loans to local entrepreneurs (micro-finance), etc. The ZERO CORP is also considered the WEAPONS DIVISION which means that it’s been charged with the task of developing WMDs. In order to truly take the fight to the enemy, we will need to develop Weapons of Mass Donations (WMDs). These state of the art weapons systems will enable warriors to control the flow of over 80% of the economic ammunition directed through World War Zero’s highly transparent financial system. The details behind these weapons systems are highly CLASSIFIED (Shhh… Don’t tell anyone).

Commander four will be in charge of all this. Commander four is a very interesting character. In fact, he is 2 different characters. On the one hand he’s Professor Simon D. Cypher but like the HULK who transforms when he gets angry, Professor Cypher transforms into C4 when he gets HANGRY (Hungry + Angry). C4 is obsessed with destroying all 17 enemies of the SDGs but is most obsessed with destroying world hunger (SDG Enemy 2). Despite his intense hatred for hunger, he prefers to stay hangry because it helps him “fight better”. C4 is very over-the-top and the opposite of the level-headed (though somewhat quirky) professor Simon D. Cypher. C4 employs the most aggressive strategies but tends to go too far in getting people’s attention and generates a lot of drama on the show as a result of his OVER-THE-TOP approach.


(Set at headquarters (AKA: HQ) with some crooked frames in the background as if there had been a fight)…

C4: The enemy is weak, the enemy is scattered, now is the time to strike! I’ve already issued the order to inform all of our frontline warriors that…