I reached for last year’s Annual Report before I sat down to write to you – and then for the year before that one. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by Annual Reports and year-end figures stretching back for decades – a wealthy history of the quest for peace, a recitation of just what is possible when like-minded people refuse to allow the world to be defined by violence.
With the benefit of seeing many years at once, like individual tiles in a colorful mosaic, I saw a constant pattern: In each report (some dog-eared and fragile, some smooth and new) I could see that every “review” set the stage for the year to come.
Every Annual Report does more than show what happened. It outlines what could be.
The report on feeding a million German and Austrian children a day after World War I was the birth of courage in a fledgling organization; the reason why AFSC dared in its organizational “infancy” to work for peace even against overwhelming odds. The report that described AFSC’s visit to the Gestapo during the terrible time before America joined World War II – that event foreshadowed decades of determination “to speak truth to power,” no matter how dangerous or impolitic.
In the Vietnam War years, the reports showed AFSC’s efforts that paved the way for the nuclear freeze movement and the willingness to work with and in nations that the United States government called enemies.
I feel a sense of continuity with the past and comfort from knowing that you and I today are continuing the important work of those who came before us. As they shaped the future for us, so do you and I shape the world our children and grandchildren will inherit.
In the paths we take today are the seeds of that future.
I am confident that we can make the world a better, more peaceful and just place because we stand together. I’m proud to share AFSC’s 2006 Annual Report with you. I hope you’re equally proud to see the good we have accomplished together, and that you’ll continue to support us in the months to come. Thank you.
With prayers for peace,
Mary Ellen McNish