Under the banner Women’s Power to Stop War, thousands of peace activists from around the world are gathering this spring to change the conversation on peacemaking.
In the Hague, Netherlands, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF),the longest-serving women’s peace organization in the world, is commemorating its 100th anniversary on Arpil 27, 2015 by bringing together activists, thinkers and decision-makers at its international conference, Women’s Power to Stop War. Joining forces with organizations like the Nobel Women’s Initiative and the International Peace Bureau, WILPF aims to offer a different way of thinking about peacemaking, while celebrating the work of its founding mothers who braved underwater mines and submarines to join 1300 women from neutral and belligerent countries in the Hague to try to put an end to World War I.
In an associated event, in New York City, on March 11, 2015, women peace activists will celebrate WILPF’s 100th anniversary at the New York Public Library. The library houses the unique Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection, a repository of early WILPF and WWI newspaper clippings, reports and photographs assembled by two pacifists and founding members of WILPF, Rosika Schwimmer of Hungary and Lola Maverick Lloyd of the US. Schwimmer and Lloyd sought to promote mediation and conciliation as an alternative to war, and their writings, along with many others’, will be on display at the Library. A performance piece by Robin Lloyd and Charlotte Dennett, “Talking with Our Grandmothers”, traces the heroic efforts of these early peacemakers while adding fresh insights into the causes of World War I. WILPF Secretary-General Madeleine Rees will give a keynote address on issues facing women in the Middle East.
The events in the Hague and New York (the latter to be held the same week as the annual UN Conference on the Status of Women), will offer guidelines to today’s peace activists in how to participate in political processes more effectively. “Peace and Security is still a man’s game” notes WILPF-US President Mary Hanson Harrison,“ as we saw in the failed Syrian peace-talks. Endless war and vast global military budgets continue while people-centered goals of improving of education, combating racism and xenophobia, ensuring food security, supporting participatory democracy and protecting our environment are left at the bottom of the barrel. Women have a vital role to play in changing that.” WILPF is proud that SCR 1325, passed by the UN Security Council in 2000, mandates that women’s voices be heard in war prevention and resolution, and was presaged by WILPF’s foremothers, trying to stop wwI.
Madeleine Rees, WILPF International’s Secretary General based in Geneva, is committed to making the international community take SCR 1325 seriously. She points out that the United Nations was founded with the aim of saving future generations from the ‘scourge of war’, but today, more than 70 years later, there are still approximately 50 ongoing conflicts taking place at this time. Asks Rees: ‘When are we going to get it -- that more guns do not equal more security?’
The events in the Hague and New York City are open to the public, and men are urged to attend.
100th Anniversary Celebration of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, featuring the New York Public Library’s exhibition of the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection of early WILPF and WWI newspaper clippings, reports and photographs assembled by WILFP founders Rosika Schwimmer of Hungary and Lola Maverick Lloyd of the U.S..
There will also be a performance by Robin Lloyd and Charlotte Dennett entitled, “Talking With Our Grandmothers,” in which they share history of war and the Women's Peace movement through conversations with and about their Grandmothers.
Wednesday, March 11, 5:00 – 7:30pm
The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building 42nd Street and 5th Ave. (South Court Auditorium), New York City
* International WILPF Secretary-General Madeleine Rees, who previously served as the Head of the Women’s Rights and Gender Unit for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, will give a keynote address on issues facing women in the Middle East.
* WILPF US President, Mary Hansen Harrison WILPF
* Historians: CUNY professor Harriet Alonso, author of Peace as a Women's Issue; Wellesley Professor Catia Confortini, author of Intelligent Compassion: Feminist Critical Methodology in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Editor and Publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel
This event is free and open to the public. Members of the press should RSVP to Shayna Samuels: Shayna@ripplestrategies.com or 718-541-4785