As a concerned member of Science for Peace I am writing to provoke some (more) thought about our “association with one another.” I have chosen these words as it has been of growing concern to me that in recent months we may have forgotten some meaning in the word peace when we talk about Science for Peace.
In recent meetings of the Board and at the March 5th meeting there has been some discussion about the future of SfP. It is my observation that there are two main areas of thought about what areas of focus our organization should have: to remain strictly dedicated to the goal of disarmament or to expand into such areas as human rights, the environment and development. My personal views are mixed. I have seen through my limited exposure at the U.N. that those NGOs that are the most successful are the ones who limit their attention to a restricted set Jot. goals. On the other hand, I feel that the members of this organization should feel free to pursue their personal interests, related to peace, as is done in the Working Groups. Regardless of what the final outcome will be I would hope that we will set a range of short, medium and long range goals and work towards them. One of those goals should be restoring financial health to the organization. However, in addition to these goals, I think we need to think about our working relationships with each other.
How much recognition do we give to each other? In the past few years I have seen many people working long hours to contribute to our organization without much in the way of recognition. This year I have watched Derek put in many, many hours as our President and I’m afraid that the only appreciation that he will get is to be asked to work many more in the future. As a peace organization I think that we must place more emphasis on our fellow members.
It strikes me, in a time when there is just as much concern about the state of the world’s affairs as during the-cold war, that peace organizations are having such a difficult time. Perhaps, part of the reason is that the government and the media only talk about the negatives. In the last election I heard much talk of the poor shape of our economy, rather than praising the fact that we are a well-educated, rich society drawing strengths from many different cultures. I know that I would be much more inclined to go out and part with my money, thus stimulating the economy, if I were feeling good about my life and those around me than if I’m convinced that the economy, is about to collapse and the country about to break up.
What does this have to do with Science for Peace? I believe it is time for us to recognize our accomplishments, and our friendships, and not just the perceived confusion about our future. I think that we must make it a priority to take a minute and call those members that you haven’t spoken to in a while: to ask how they are doing and let them know what you’ve been up to. I believe that a peace organization should be concerned about its members and its relationships, otherwise it doesn’t understand the whole meaning of peace.
In the last two and a half years I have had the privilege to work with many individuals: Derek, Eric, Susan, Phyllis, John, Jim, Walter, Alan, Bobbie, Terry, Jean, …. I want to extend my appreciation for the work that you’ve done and for your friendship.
“I believe, with Simone Weil, that the true definition of science is the study of the beauty of the world. The results of science are in fact the great art forms of this century.”
G. Evelyn Hutchinson