What is the history behind AA’s Unity Declaration?
The Unity Declaration:
"This we owe to A.A.’s future: to place our common welfare first; to keep our Fellowship united. For on A.A. unity depend our lives and the lives of those to come."
It was written for A.A.'s 35th Anniversary International Convention that was held in Miami Beach, Florida in July 1970. Unfortunately, it appears that the GSO Archives department does not possess records concerning the author of the Declaration.
Documents in our collection indicate that the statement was composed as a combined effort of both the Committee on International Convention and former A.A. trustee, Al S. The correspondence alludes to Al's involvement as a consultant in composing the statement. Certainly, Al wrote the “Responsibility” Statement that had been introduced at the 1965 International Convention.
The "Unity" statement was read by delegates from different countries on Saturday night during the Unity Ceremony. Below, I have presented brief highlights from that night's ceremony, as led by former General Manager, Bob H.:
"As you know the theme of this Conference is Unity Within Our Fellowship. We have asked several of our ex-delegates and members from overseas to be on stage and participate with us adopting our new Declaration of Unity..."
"A.A. unity is the special quality that makes our Fellowship unique. It is the cement that holds our society together, the platform which makes A.A. 'Service' possible. It is more than agreement on basic principles, more than freedom from destructive strife. It is a bond fashioned of shared experience, such as this one we share tonight.
“Unity is our most precious possession, our best guarantee of A.A.'s future. May we all value and preserve it, today and all the tomorrows to come.”
Bob H. then asks all participants on stage to recite the Unity Declaration, which was led by Dr. Norris.
Following the International Convention (1973), the General Service Conference recommended that:
The Unity Declaration be added to all A.A. Literature when feasible and economical, and be referred to A.A. World Services, Inc., for follow-through.