Ann Tickner has been an AFSC donor for some 50 years. That steadfast support, she says, is inextricably linked to her Quaker beliefs and the feminist approach to international relations she has spent most of her adult life teaching.
"I see all these threads as intersecting," says Ann, who taught at the University of Southern California and is now a distinguished scholar in residence at American University in Washington, D.C.
Born in London just before the start of World War II, Ann grew up in war-torn England with nightly bombing raids, driving bans, fuel shortages, blackout curtains, gas masks, and sirens warning of raids.
Ann's family moved to the United States in 1952, when her father, Frederick James Tickner, began working at the United Nations. Ann continued to study in England. She followed later and attended graduate school at Yale, where she met her husband, the late professor Hayward Alker. She would later receive her Ph.D. from Brandeis University.
"I didn't know anything about AFSC before I met my husband," Ann says. "When he was an undergrad at MIT in the late 1950s, he went to an AFSC work camp in Italy. He talked about that a lot—about the rebuilding after World War II."
She credits her experiences during World War II, along with her family's connection to the U.N., for propelling her to study and eventually teach and write about international relations with a focus on peace and women's issues. "In the 1950s, there was lots of idealism around the U.N. and efforts to promote world peace," she says. "This is why I'm a Quaker and support AFSC."
Ann's approach to international relations is similar to the concept of shared security that guides AFSC's peace-building efforts today. "When I teach about peace, I approach it as a struggle for justice," she explains. "A lot of the books I've written are framed around the concept of security not just as the absence of war, but the presence of economic security and justice."
"In international relations, we teach and write about how wars start and end and about peace treaties," she adds. "Feminists reject this. A feminist approach to war talks about how individuals, both women and men, are affected. We talk about how wars do not have defined beginnings and endings. And we talk about how, as a consequence of wars' brutalities and economic dislocation, there's a continuation of violence experienced especially by women and families."
In honor of Courageous Acts: The Campaign for AFSC's Next Century, Ann recently established the Hayward Alker Fund, which supports AFSC's international conflict resolution work. "I did it because AFSC is an organization Hayward and I both believed in and it was a way to honor him and his life work as a peace researcher," she says. It's just the latest expression of Ann and Hayward's commitment to AFSC, and it underscores the emphasis that, as a Quaker, Ann places on "doing good work here and now."