2017 End of Year Letter
November 30, 2017
As ever, we are so grateful for your ongoing support of Track Two. We have had a year of growth and development – reflecting our increasing concern about the fragility of US international relations and the urgent need for our form of citizen diplomacy in this restless climate. It was a year of reactivation, of opening new doors and establishing new relationships. I offer this update as an informal annual report to describe how we are moving forward. We invite you to continue to follow Track Two’s work and support our annual giving campaign to fund a portion of our general operations of $275,000 as we seek additional funding from institutions to support our programs.
As you know, Track Two brings together extraordinary and influential leaders, operating outside government, to further their work and build alliances promoting peace, freedom of expression and greater understanding between nations and regions in conflict. Some highlights include:
International Abrahamic Network Program (IAN)
Combatants for Peace, which we helped launch in its early days, was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize
Huda Abu Arquob has been nominated for a Laudate Si (Vatican) Award for her leadership in the peacebuilding movement through the Alliance for Middle East Peace.
The Women Wage Peace March, organized by ALLMEP and Huda drew 30,000 Palestinian and Israeli women to Jerusalem to march for peace – an unprecedented event and turnout!
The Goldziher Prize, managed by Evelyn Messinger and Tamar Miller, was awarded for the first time to journalists reporting on anti-Muslim news in the US.
While Track Two is not directly engaged in these efforts, the individuals involved meet, draw support from and rely on the IAN to build their movements. Track Two shepherds the network, encourages connection and brings resources to bear at critical moments to support the evolving work of the IAN participants and their extraordinary projects.
Russian American Program (RAP)
In two conferences in 2017 (New York and Saint Petersburg) our Russian-American Program network met to discuss how we might best serve the need for improved perceptions of Russia among Americans and of America among Russians. From an interview and discussion between teens from both countries in Saint Petersburg, it
became clear that youth are receiving news and forming their perceptions in ways that are astonishingly new to older generations. And through this “news” they are forming different views – bucking the propaganda machines in both countries and forming unique opinions based on kaleidoscopic perceptions drawn from v-logs, memes, videos and social media posts.
We recognized that if the future of relations between our countries have promise, that promise, now more than ever before, is in young people. In 2018 we will hold a conference in Saint Petersburg that will explore the influence of media and communications on youth perceptions – focused on relations between Russia and America.
Chinese American Potential Program (CAPP)
We explored opportunities to engage with Chinese influencers in late 2016 in Hong Kong, bringing together colleagues from mainland China who participated in our Track Two-Esalen programs. We are developing a plan for an expanded effort that might include other countries in the northern Pacific Rim.
We reinforce our work with ongoing cultural exchanges. Joe Orrach, a San Francisco Bay Area performance artist and teacher, and his groups, JOPP (Joe Orrach Performance Project) performed for an audience of more than ninety Russian students and Track Two colleagues and friends in Saint Petersburg – bringing a new art form to the Saint Petersburg community. Joe will lead a cross-cultural performance piece with a Saint Petersburg movement troupe during our 2018 conference on youth!
We have also been building our infrastructure to ready ourselves for growth! We are moving to a new accounting system; we are upgrading all our software and we are developing a donor management system. Simultaneously we are expanding our social media presence and will be launching our new website, incorporating all Track Two programs, in 2018.
We have enjoyed two additions to our team here – Ginger Thomson –who is our acting Executive Director and Mariah Nimmons, our social media and web manager who is helping us “evolve”!
This year we have a fund-raising goal of $275,000 for our long-time followers so that we can continue our network expansion. Please join us at this critical moment in global affairs in supporting the individuals - the influencers, the leaders, the creators - operating outside government, who are developing the brighter future we know is possible.
Thank you so much,
President and Chair