Emily Greene Balch was born to a prosperous family near Boston. She studied Economics from 1890–1896 in Paris, at Harvard, in Chicago and Berlin. In 1913, she became professor of Economics and Sociology. Lecturer at Wellesley College (Massachusetts), she was admired by her students for clarity of her thought, extensive experience and her compassion for the poor, the disadvantaged, women and workers.
Delegate to the International Congress of Women at the Hague (1915), co-founder of the Women’s International Committee, later named the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (1919) and its Secretary (1919–1922). Following WWI, she was involved in projects implemented by the League of Nations.
Opponent of America’s entry into WWI, she took a position at a liberal magazine called “The Nation”. In 1926, she published a report on the living conditions in occupied Haiti.
In 1930s, she sought the means and funds to help victims of Nazi persecution, encouraging governments to accept refugees. She changed her pacifistic views to defending “the fundamental human rights, sword in hand”, and her ideas for peace were characterised by internationalism, such as the concept of international waterways, airspace, etc.
John R. Mott, an American Methodist, History and Philosophy graduate from Cornell University (1888). Member of student organisations and the missionary movement. President of the World Missionary Conference (1910), important for the development of protestant missionary movement that paved the way for contemporary ecumenism.
The aim of the YMCA (established in 1844) is to live Christian values through the development of spiritual, mental and physical health, and the provision of moral and material assistance to people in need. The organisation has many affiliates all over the world. After the war, YMCA also took care of the prisoners of war, repatriates, demobilised soldiers, children, civilians and poor students.
In 1895, in cooperation with Karl Fries, Mott organised the World’s Student Christian Federation (WSCF) and as its Secretary General, travelled the globe, organising student movements in India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe. In 1912–1913, he took part in regional missionary conferences in the Far East.
Following WWII, he was involved in the formation of the World Council of Churches, which elected him in 1948 as a lifelong honorary President.
Author of 16 books on the themes he devoted his life to. Mott delivered thousands of speeches, chaired a multitude of conferences; during his world tour, he crossed the Atlantic 100 times and the Pacific Ocean 14 times, averaging 34 days on the sea annually for fifty years. He received many awards and honours in many countries (including Poland).