The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason to hope.Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Every year, as we prepare this report, we are struck with the mix of the familiar and the new that each year brings. Like so many people, we find plenty of evidence that little really changes, and the world continues to confound our hopes for what we know is possible. Sometimes we even fail to imagine how things could work differently, so convinced are we of the permanence of the world as we know it.
At the same time, we find surprising markers along the way, signs that shifts are taking place. We are inspired by the realization of the dreams of those who have struggled in large and small ways to bring about justice and peace, for themselves and for others.
Through our relationships with other activists and organizations in Canada and around the world, Inter Pares creates opportunities to learn about the world we share. We learn from colleagues, friends and supporters how to improve our understanding of the world in order to be more effective in making it better. By paying close attention to the ways in which people in various places live and shape their lives, we are reminded of the enduring power of human courage, ingenuity and creativity. We never fail to be inspired by human solidarity and generosity.
Inter Pares works closely with women and men who are bringing about the changes in their lives today that will ensure a more just and healthier future for generations to come. These relationships of common cause are long-term, grounded in many years of experience that have brought both great challenges and inspiring achievements. They are also relationships that are open to the future, to the often unpredictable events that affect our lives and aspirations.Our task is to find the promise of the world we want in the present we know, and to nurture that promise. Welcoming the signs of the future we want can be risky. Nothing is guaranteed. And we have learned we can be bitterly disappointed by utopian visions, predictions of a bright future that never come to pass.
Our best efforts therefore lie not in striving for a far horizon that will always elude us, but rather in paying close attention to the present – in all its diversity and complexity and possibility. When we seek to encourage the signs of a better world being born, when we recognize it in the actions of so many people in different places and circumstances, we welcome the future we desire as it appears to us now. We see it created by people who believe they can do better than manage the unmanageable; by people who believe they are part of transformative, emancipating change; by people for whom hope is both the source and the fruit of solidarity. In relationships of enduring solidarity, we come to recognize not the other, but the fellow human being. As we act together today, we get a glimpse of the future we desire, and our hope is sustained.
In this Annual Report for 2008 we present some of the highlights of the past year that are the fruits of the long-term solidarity among Inter Pares’ supporters in Canada and our colleagues and counterparts around the world. We have been privileged to support people who are defending human rights and civil liberties, people who are ensuring food security through protecting biodiversity and farmers’ livelihoods, and others who are building peace through community dialogues and reconciliation. We invite you to read more about their efforts in this Annual Report and to visit our Web site for more of their stories. We trust you will find in this work signs of a present full of promise, and many reasons to hope.