National Women’s Organization Celebrates 100 Years of Peacebuilding

For Immediate Release . . . Contact Info: Robin Lloyd 802-355-3256: Heather Wellman 904-545-1754

[BOSTON, MA]: The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the oldest women’s peace organization, with sections in 30 countries, is celebrating 100 years of peacebuilding with an international conference at The Hague April 27-29, and various events across the US.

The celebrations launch International WILPF’s global campaign, Women’s Power to Stop War. Joining forces with organizations like the Nobel Women’s Initiative and Code Pink, WILPF aims to offer a different way of thinking about peacemaking, while celebrating and reaffirming the work of its founding mothers during World War I who gathered together in The Hague to offer mediation, and to insist that women have a say on the issues of war and peace.

In an associated event, in New York City, on March 11, 2015 (5 to 7:30 pm), we will observe WILPF’s 100th anniversary at the New York Public Library: Celebrating 100 Years of Women Peacemakers. 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. International WILPF Secretary-General Madeleine Rees will give a keynote address on current issues facing women in the Middle East.

Other events will take place at Grinnell College in Iowa, and Swarthmore College in PA. A WILPF branch from Santa Cruz CA will take “Jane (Addams) on the train” to an event at Hull House, Chicago on March 16. The events 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. Women have a vital role to play in changing that.” WILPF is proud that SCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, 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.

Looking towards the next millennium, WILPF-US, based in Boston and with 57 branches in 26 states, has set a goal of one million dollars for their Anniversary Growing WILPF! Campaign to fund extending capacity: recruiting new members, adding new branches across America and supporting program and mission. Already, half of the goal has been reached.

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