2011 U.S. WILPF Congress Reports

2011 U.S. WILPF Congress Reports

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Triangle WILPF organizers gather in Chapel Hill

On June 1st through 6th, more than 100 hundred WILPF women convened for the WILPF U.S. Section 31st National Congress to deepen understanding and to reaffirm our collective commitment to abolish war and establish true peace. Expanding on the theme "End War: Local to Global," the Triennial National Congress was held on the beautiful campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and hosted by the vibrant Triangle Branch which recently honored their own 75th anniversary of WILPF activism. 

 

 

 Congress Speakers & Event Highlights

The schedule of the 31st US WILPF Congress featured an unusually dynamic and informative set of speakers and line-up of special events.  Opening remarks shared by Congress Program Co-Chair Elenita Muniz eloquently reminded us of the purpose of our gathering as she “channeled” the stories of our 1915 founding WILPF sisters when they met for the 1st WILPF Congress, and then carefully outlined how much WILPF work still remains to be done, stating “End War doesn’t mean simply Stop the Bombs, or Get Rid of the Guns." 

Kathy Kelly shares her personal story of war in Iraq and Afghanistan

It means ending EVERYTHING that causes or results from war.” Speaker Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, deepened our understanding of the stark reality of war when she spoke to a lunch-time WILPF audience about her experiences over the course of her 27 visits to Iraq and 4 most recent trips to Afghanistan. She gave a stirring account of the people she met on her travels and the conditions they faced, as people caught in between a repressive government and the invading forces of the U.S. and others. Reverend William Barber, President of North Carolina's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and National Board Member of the NAACP was a powerfully moving speaker, who interspersed his advocacy of social justice and appreciation of WILPF with a call to "Be a voice, not an echo." At the conclusion of his address, Dr. Barber led a caravan of WILPFers to the State Capitol in Raleigh to vigil outside the General Assembly and bear witness to the passage of a State budget that served the interests of the few at the expense of the many (view a video here). The final plenary speaker was WILPF International Secretary General Madeleine Rees, who gave a strong and clearly articulated account of her work for WILPF and the growth of our sister sections, along with an inspiring explanation of how WILPF works within various United Nations bodies to call member countries accountable to their obligations to uphold UN principles. 

Congress special events included an enlightening play entitled,  "The Prosecution of Judge Waite," written and produced by Jim Allison, about the 1886 Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, where the misleading notes of a not- so-simple court clerk led to U.S. Supreme Court’s subsequent decisions granting corporations constitutional “personhood.” 

Cape Cod WILPF member Kristen Knowles gave an impromptu dramatic performance of her original poetry. Her presentation was so moving that Kristen has been invited to perform at the upcoming Democracy Convention in Wisconsin where WILPF is planning to have a strong collective presence.  

Madeleine Rees

Saturday’s Gala Reception included cocktails, delicious Indian fare, and a premier showing of the film “The Whistle Blower” in which Madeleine Rees’s work within the U.N. to expose the wide-scale human trafficking scandal involving U.S. military contractor, Dyncorp and the United Nations in postwar Bosnia is depicted in the disturbing true story written by Larysa Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan. Following the film, Madeleine along with Donna Bickford, Director of the Carolina Women's Center and expert on human trafficking in the U.S., took questions from the audience and emphasized the profound need to institute international policy changes on diplomatic immunity that allow criminal acts to go unpunished.  Madeleine concluded by urging all of us to send a clear message to our elected leaders: "diplomatic immunity cannot equal immunity from prosecution for criminal acts."

Click here to find out more about WILPF’s 1325 Sub-Committee Action Plan for the theatrical release of "The Whistleblower" and like the Facebook page here.

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Setting the Stage: Beijing +15 and Commission on Status of Women (CSW) Reports, Res. 1325 and Gender Equity

Local2Global and WILPF Practicum Participants present an intergenerational plenary at Congress

An intergenerational plenary was something new for a WILPF Congress. The participants were young women, new WILPF members who had attended a WILPF Practicum – a seminar for study and advocacy at the UN in NYC during the CSW - and older active members from WILPF branches, who attended the CSW on special scholarships (Local2Global) newly funded this year. 

Our challenge was how to discuss our learnings from the CSW, gender and women’s rights issues, the various global topics that WILPF works on viewed through a gender lens, and describe how feminist movement has developed and is being challenged and interpreted in the 16 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) in just three hours?

During the CSW, Kristen Alder and Janet Slagter became the plenary coordinators for the younger and older groups and designed and developed it through lots of e-mails and facebooking thereafter. We were disappointed that a medical concern caused Kristin Alder to be unable to attend the Congress. (Kristin, we hope you are well, and that this report does the plenary and your work justice.)  

In opening remarks, Jan talked about putting women and gender analysis back into WILPF’s analytical toolbox. She described differences in political understandings that were evident in the NYC discussions among younger and older members, differences important as WILPF - an organization of aging members - considers its future. Vocabularies of explanation and understandings differed. Young members can readily discuss the effects of intersectionality and the heteronormative on global issues, while older WILPFers can easily explain fracking and the military-industrial-congressional complex. There is much to learn from each other.

Jan also presented ideas Kristin sent on the usefulness of women’s gender roles in creating peace, and WILPF’s need to focus on newer U.N. documents that build on Resolution 1325 to monitor conflict-related sexual violence and on state-driven processes based on local contexts in the development of U.N. mandated changes involving women.

Next came the first panel presentation by three older members who had attended Beijing ’95. Robin Lloyd showed excerpts from her film, Peace Train to Beijing, excerpts that captured the exhilaration of the journey and that revealed the need for communication across differences. Robin was thrilled to see the images again, with WILPFers, and to re-remember the event that introduced her to global feminism. Regina Birchem, our former international president, explained the crafting of the contents of the Beijing Platform and showed how it grew out of U.N. conferences focused on other topics, such as children’s rights and the environment. Anne Hoiberg gave a brief history of the U.N.-convened women’s conferences (1975-1995) and highlighted the Beijing Platform for Action (PFA), with its twelve critical areas of concern. As a result of the conference, she told us, President Bill Clinton established the President’s Interagency Council on Women, which was tasked with developing a U.S. Plan of Action to implement the PFA. In 2001, the Bush Administration abolished it. Anne also told the impressive story of her city’s (San Diego) support for monitoring San Diego’s version of the PFA and endorsing ratification of CEDAW. Work at the national and local levels on the implementation of the PFA and CEDAW ratification continues to this day.  

Student activists, women new to WILPF, participants in the UN Practicum in 2010 and 2011, presented the second panel. Christine Willingham discussed the “US women have it made” fallacy, given, among others, the lack of family friendly work policies and policies that address needs of single mothers. This fallacy was evident at the 2010 CSW in the poor attendance and lack of focus on US women’s concerns at the US caucus and the continuing failure to ratify CEDAW. Minjon Tholen noted that young women tend to be marginalized at these UN conferences. Making available more resources to attend the CSW and more tools such as mentorship to promote intergenerational collaboration could be helpful in involving more young women in international women's rights advocacy. Minjon added that holding the CSW on different continents each year or organizing a 5th World Conference on Women would promote the participation of a wider variety of women and invigorate the women's movement. Katie Booher discussed the problematic assumptions of “sisterhood,” given that differences matter. Specifically, she found that most CSW presenters assumed a straight, destined-to-be-mothers population of women. Social movements need to consider all the parts of persons’ identity. Conversations need to occur among widely varying positions, and we need to make allies through rather than despite our differences.

The third panel of Local2Global participants included Barbara Beesley and Shirley Kinoshita. After a tech conflict disrupted their powerpoint plans, Shirley described the ways her own identity is tied to the issues of the CSW, and her work, since she has become the moving force in San Jose’s UN Association, to which she brought back insights from the CSW. Barbara Beesley, a Detroit nun and college teacher, talked very specifically about pondering the intricacies involved in cross-cultural communicating at the CSW, as she considered the implications of an NGO’s description of the seemingly small victory of the use of “social inclusion” as a replacement for “social integration” in a policy document.

The plenary concluded with a directed discussion on questions developed by plenary speakers. Most of the discussion focused on the need to and how to nurture young women’s leadership.  A dedicated WILPF fund should be set up for the Practicum students to attend the Triennial. One young woman said that obviously working together – young and old – is an asset to the whole movement.

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MCAD Debut at National Congress: Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) students take on WILPF as their class project to create a “Youth Outreach Marketing Plan”

 

Young new faces joined our strong WILPF collective in a number of different ways at the Triennial Congress. Six students from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), along with their professor Nancy Rice, a 2006 NY Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame inductee, made the trip from Minnesota to North Carolina to “pitch” their final class project – the culmination of a six-month study of WILPF and the creation of a campaign strategy for effective youth recruitment. The bright and creative MCAD students spent the week talking and sharing with long-time WILPF women, and debuted their WILPF Youth Outreach and Marketing Proposal to incoming and outgoing Board Members, as well as a room packed full of excited observers. Their outreach proposal included an updated WILPF website and logo, a “Tiered Membership Platform,” where young members can identify what WILPF issues they want to work on and how many hours they will commit to WILPF work, new T-Shirt and poster designs as part of an “Art Hub” where members' art and creativity can be utilized for WILPF activism,  a Branch Membership Tool Kit “Zine”, new partnerships with socially and politically minded youth organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, and even a download WILPF Application for your phone!  To read some of their personal reflections on the WILPF Congress, go here.

 

MCAD Team 15 with WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Reese

 

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 Resolutions Debated: No Nukes, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Article 9 and More

Congress attendees had the opportunity to discuss and debate six political resolutions submitted in advance of the meeting. Unlike resolution processes of the past, this congress adopted a process designed to generate enthusiasm for new initiatives and new momentum for some old ideas. Like the rest of this Congress, the emphasis was on turning intention into effective action. Please read on if you’d like more information about the resolutions themselves and opportunities for your continued involvement.

Results of Resolution Process

The resolutions adopted at congress will:

  • provide guidance and support to WILPF members and branches in their local work;
  • inform the Issue Committee Program Planning Retreat immediately following congress;
  • assist our national organization's representatives to the upcoming International Congress by giving them guidance on political issues they may need to vote on there;
  • inform our e-news and magazine editors as they plan content for our national publications;
  • assist our National Director and program co-chairs in making endorsements on behalf of the section;
  • and inform the incoming board about issues and stances important to WILPF members.

Resolution #1: Nuclear-Free Zone in Western Asia (Middle East)
57 out of 63 in favor; committed to work on issue: Joan Bazar, Dick Paddock, Miriam Thompson, Ellen Thomas, Lynn Furay, Carol Urner, Alan Haber, Odile Hugonot Haber, Barbara Taft, Gillian Gilhool. Ongoing work will be coordinated jointly by the Middle East and DISARM! Issue committees.

Text of Resolution:
We urge a halt to the proliferation of arms in Western Asia (the Middle East), and seek the creation of a Nuclear Free Zone in that region.  WILPF will lobby the U.S. mission to the United Nations to press for the establishment of this zone.


Resolution #2: WILPF Honors Barbara Lee
57 out of 63 in favor; committed to work on issue: Ruth Zalph, Georgia Pinkel, Carol Urner, Joan Bazar, Shirley Lin Kinoshita, Lynn Furay, Judy Adams, Dick Paddock, Sandy Silver, Joan Drake, Cynthia Roberts Hall, Ann Nagin. Ongoing work will be coordinated by Sandy Thacker of the East Bay Branch.

Text of Resolution:
WILPF U.S. honors California Congresswoman Barbara Lee for her courage in 2001 in being the only member of Congress to vote against giving President Bush unlimited power to attack any individual, organization or country without Congressional approval.  In the wake of the tragedy on of 9/11, Congresswoman Lee stood up for hope and for democracy.  Since then, she has worked tirelessly to end war and redirect our resources to peace, justice and equality.


Resolution #3: A Constitutional Amendment To Prohibit War
36 out of 63 in favor; committed to work on issue: Ruth Zalph, Carol Urner, Alan Haber, Ellen Thomas, Lynn Furay. Jiyoung Ahn, and Molly Cyr.

Text of Resolution:
Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan forbids Japan to make war again. It was written 65 years ago, under the direction of U.S. occupation forces.  Since that time, Japan has had no civilian or military losses in war, nor has Japan declared war.

WILPF US will work to add a similar amendment to the U.S. Constitution in hopes that, following such an adoption, the U.S. and Japan can form a coalition to work within the UN to abolish war-making as a political and economic tool.


Resolution #4: People's Representation in the United Nations
17 out of 63 in favor; committed to work on issue: Odile Hugonot Haber, Alan Haber, Judy Adams.

Text of Resolution:
WILPF U.S. supports a United Nations that is more responsive to the needs and desires of global citizens.  In recognition of the people's yearning for democracy, as most recently evidenced in the Arab Spring, we propose an additional UN body: a World Parliament, with members elected by the people (similar to our House of Representatives), that would balance the General Assembly, which is made up of representatives appointed by national leaders, including dictators.

This body would have the same rights and authority as the General Assembly and could be located in the UN Building, perhaps in the Trusteeship Council Assembly Hall.


Resolution #5: Expand Our Environmental Platform
58 out of 63 in favor; committed to work on this issue: Miriam Thompson, Mary Zepernick, Mary Hanson Harrison, Shirley Lin Kinoshita, Lib Hutchby, Randa Solick, Heiderose Kober, Jan Corderman, Nancy Munger, Jan Slaghter, Marie-Louise Jackson-Miller, Ann Powers, Tana Hartman, Ellen Thomas, Odile Hugonot Haber, Alan Haber, Linda Park, Georgia Pinkel. Ongoing work will be coordinated by the leadership team of the Save the Water Issue committee.

Text of Resolution:
Water issues – water as a human right, public need for upgraded infrastructure, corporate attempts to privatize drinking water systems – are part of larger pressing environmental problems.

WILPF will expand our national issue group to include, for example, climate crisis, environmental trespass by corporations, nuclear and other waste, food sovereignty, support for sustainable and organic agriculture and healthy food systems – all intertwined with economic justice issues and global activist movements.   WILPF should increase our cooperation with existing international environmental movements.

We will expand our water issues group both in terms of other environmental justice considerations and in terms of the number of members needed to be effective in this work.


Resolution #6:  Ending the War on Drugs is a Feminist Issue
56 out of 63 in favor; committed to work on this issue: Sha’an Mouliert, Ruth Zalph, Georgia Pinkel, Marie-Louise Jackson-Miller, Robin Lloyd, Tana Hartman, Lucinda Tate, Alan Haber, Mary Hanson Harrison. Ongoing work on this issue will be coordinated by Robin Lloyd.

Text of Resolution:
The war on drugs is a sexist and racist policy with negative social economic impacts that affect the poor and people of color.  Women and children are unduly affected.   Decisions on both sides of the "war" are made mostly by men who use the funding/profits from this "war" to subvert democratic values and to promote militarized occupation of poor under-industrialized countries.  WILPF US believes that drug addiction should be dealt with medically not criminally, and calls for the abolition of mandatory minimums.

WILPF’s role is to speak out and be the truth-tellers on the "real" reason for the war on drugs and its devastation of so many countries.

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 Talking, Listening and Coming together: WILPF Communication Models to be Explored

Heart-to-heart dialogue and unity built throughout the week of Congress as WILPF members - new and more seasoned – connected (and re-connected) through the sharing of our individual stories and the renewed realization of our mutual commitments to advance WILPF's work of total disarmament and peace, human rights for all, and care for our earth.  By talking to each other and listening, Congress restored our spirits, nurtured our hearts, and reminded us of the collective power of our united action! 

WILPF’s newly seated National Board further discussed what it looked and felt like to “practice peace”  generally, as members of our communities at large, and specifically, as leaders of a peace organization. Building upon this momentum, WILPF members who have an interest or experience in positive /compassionate communication models and mediation are invited to participate in a one-year exploratory Ad Hoc Committee. The purpose of the committee is to explore the power of affirmative and non-violent communication and mediation practices as tools for “practicing peace” in WILPF, and as  “models” for our larger communities and governments.  If we, as peace women and men are not practicing peace  - in action and word -  then how can we expect our national and international leaders to?

The committee will meet monthly via conference calls for 12 months (July 2011 through July 2012) with individual members taking responsibility for research and proposal work in between calls.  At the end of the twelve month commitment, the Ad Hoc Committee will present a formal report to the National Board of their findings, with recommendations for new communication and mediation models for WILPF, US-Section. If interested in joining this committee, please contact Tanya Henderson, WILPF National Director at 617-266-0999 or thenderson@wilpf.org.

Click here to support WILPF's peacebuilding with a donation!
For more information, visit our website:

www.wilpf.org


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NCC Congress Workshops: Special Reports

Focused on the End War theme, the Triennial Congress offered a provocative list of workshops that responded to the Opening Plenary challenge that “ending war means ending everything that causes or results from war.”  Workshop topics such as Gender Responsive Budgeting, End War against Workers, Water for Life, Not for Profit, The Audacity of Hope in the Middle East: Advancing Peace and Human Rights, Nuclear Free Future, Telling our Stories – Supporting our Mission, and Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan: Ending These Wars, among many others enabled participants to explore WILPF’s multi-issue agenda towards establishing sustainable peace. See articles below for NCC Workshop “Special Reports.”


Gender Sensitive Budgeting Workshop
Bring the War $$$ Home and Let the People Decide

Laura Roskos and Nancy Price facilitated a timely Gender Sensitive Budgeting (GSB) Workshop.  On May 24th, WILPF, as a member of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), was included in a letter to Pres. Obama that the concerns of women be considered in budget deficit talks. Now, on Monday, June 20, the U. S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution calling for an accelerated end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s time for WILPF women to speak out about how these $$$ will be spent. It’s part of WILPF’s herstory.

Jane Addams, along with her work for peace and at Chicago’s Hull House, for decades worked with  Eleanor  Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, first woman Secretary of Labor, and others to tirelessly advocate for “mothers’ pensions, widows’ benefits, old-age security, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance” (Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt, vol 2, p. 247).  From FDR on, Congress passed legislation to meet these needs that now the right-wing is trying to dismantle.

At the 1995 UN Fourth Conference on Women in Beijing, China, Jane Midgley, former WILPF US Executive Director founded the Women’s Budget Project and held citizens’ hearings around the country on budget and economic policies and to develop alternatives. Work on women’s budgets has taken off around the world. Midgley’s Women and the U.S. Budget: Where the Money Goes and What You Can Do About It (2005) is a plan for action.
WILPF women can join with others to say “Let the People Decide” and:


Labor Workshop – WAR AGAINST WORKERS

North Carolina Triangle Branch take local action!

End War against Workers, Public Employees, and Labor Unions focused on the savage and well organized corporate assault against worker organizations and unions to assure the elimination of any countervailing power to growing corporate domination of our social and political lives.  Our purpose was to put L for Labor back on the WILPF program agenda, and to counter the corporate threat by connecting to labor struggles in our local communities and sharing organizing stories, coalition strategies, and the outcomes of recent campaigns the WILPF Triangle Branch had been involved in.

One such effort was The Farm Labor Organizing Committee and its broad campaign against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. Narrated by Nick Wood, FLOC organizer and strategist, the story focuses on how broad coalitions built among faith, labor and social justice organizations resulted in boycotts and pressure on RJ’s major international stockholder.  In addition, FLOC used stock purchases to build shareholder power to embarrass RJ and draw attention to the abusive work conditions tolerated in Reynolds’ tobacco fields. Other member stories were shared from around the country, as well as organizing strategies, such as:

  • how to use international and national labor rights conventions, protocols, legislation, political action;
  • how WILPF Branches are connecting to local labor organizations to challenge cuts to public services, schools, health care, environmental protection, increasing unemployment (and underemployment), and the massive transfer of wealth to the richest citizens and corporations and their increasing control of elections.

A Labor Issue Committee has been proposed, and all workshop participants signed up! We welcome others to join by contacting workshop facilitator: Miriam Thompson, (917) 825-0884.


Save the Water: "Water for Life, Not for Profit"Move to Amend Map
At Congress,  Resolution #5: “Expand WILPF’s Environmental Platform" proposed by the Save the Water Issue Group passed almost unanimously - 58 out of 63 in favor. Now the work begins.

  • First,  the “Save the Water” listserve is open for communication among all those who wish to connect with and be a part of this Issue Group.  We can share ideas and “how to” experiences as we work together to shape work on this new environmental platform. Click here to view and sign up for our listserve.
  • Second, the Resolution states we will include, for example, climate crisis, environmental trespass by corporations, nuclear and other waste, food sovereignty, support for sustainable and organic agriculture and healthy food systems. With this expansion, we invite all who want to work on one of these subjects to contact us via the listserve, writing Save the Water in the subject line.
  • Third, the materials presented at the Congress workshop, Water Justice stories, and lists of Books, Films, and Resources will be posted soon on the website. The water justice stories are part of a mapping project to show where in the U.S. and internationally, communities are fighting back against water privatization.


Welcome to Save the Water: Jean Hay, Lib Hutchby, Nancy Munger, Linda Park, Nancy Price, and Randa Solick
Photo by Rick Raymond

“Expand WILPF’s Environmental Platform"
Water issues - water as a human right, public need for upgraded infrastructure, corporate attempts to privatize drinking water systems - are part of larger pressing environmental problems. WILPF will expand our national issue group to include, for example, climate crisis, environmental trespass by corporations, nuclear and other waste, food sovereignty, support for sustainable and organic agriculture and healthy food systems - all intertwined with economic justice issues and global activist movements. WILPF should increase our cooperation with existing international environmental movements.       We will  expand our water issues group both in terms of other environmental justice considerations and in terms of the number of members needed to be effective in this work.     


The Audacity of Hope in the Middle East: Advancing Peace & Human Rights

The ME workshop was very well attended with some 30+ people. In accord with the 2011 Congress theme, an “End Wars” lens was used to analyze important issues within the Middle East, understanding that such issues are common to all war.  Under this rubric, we categorized our discussions under headings that are universal to all wars  - Land, Water, Security, and Power and Privilege vs. Human Rights -  and that need to be dealt to “End War”. On each topic we opened the floor to the wisdom of the participants who shared their knowledge freely. It was very lively.

The topics reviewed were:

  • Sharing land: Our workshop examined land partition, the building of the wall over Palestinian land, the demolitions of Palestinian houses, settlers moving in the occupied territories in violation of International laws, refugee camps, and the siege of Gaza. Discussions ensued around the possible outcomes of one state, two states, virtual states or confederacy or other models.
  • Sharing water: Participants discussed Israel’s excessive use of water for growing crops, and the creation of swimming pools, while Palestinian trees are uprooted and Palestinian people are denied access to clean water - even the traditional means of water collection from roof tops or cisterns is not allowed. We looked at where water reserves are located and acknowledged that future wars will be fought because of water.
  • Security: The group acknowledged that the building of the "Apartheid wall" was intended more for land grab rather than for providing Israel  with a "security wall" for Israel. Participants further noted that Israel remains a leading arms producing nation, while Palestine does not even have an army. A tour organized by Israel WILPF takes visitors an allowed breach in the wall where Israelis pick up Palestinian laborers to work in Israeli fields. We spoke of the attention given to Israel's “need” for security, noting that few speak about security for Palestinians, or the siege of Gaza and the destruction of its infrastructure.
  • Power and Privilege vs. Human Rights: Workshop participants analyzed US Policy towards the ME and reviewed current lobbying efforts. Odile Hugonot Haber reported briefly on Move Over AIPAC  action in Washington. Libby Frank spoke about the power of the Israel lobby- made up of AIPAC members, the armament lobby, and the “Christian Right.” We discussed the
    growth of the  Jewish Voices for Peace and J Street. Participants reviewed different BDS campaigns and their effectiveness. We also spoke briefly about the U.S. decision to boycott the Durbin III Conference against racism because of anti-Semitic allegations. Barbara Taft introduced a number of resources on UN Resolutions concerning the Middle East that the ME Committee hopes to explore as a means of holding our governments more accountable for the policies in the region. 

Our future work will focus on;

Short Term goals

  1. Support U.S. activists on the boat to Gaza called the "Audacity of Hope" by asking members to call upon the State Department to ensure safe passage for US citizens. (To send a Letter to Pres. Obama requesting that he ensure the safe passage of the U.S. activists on the boat to Gaza, click here.)
  2. In September, a Palestinian State will likely be declared and we will support this declaration.

Long Term goals

  1. Work on the establishment of a Nuclear Free Zone in the Middle East (resolution passed).
  2. Support the work of the Israeli and Palestinian section around UN SC R1325. Work to bring women to the peace table and make evident women's wisdom and knowledge in envisioning and building a new US Foreign Policy in the ME.
  3. Coordinate ME work with the water campaign, the disarmament committee, advancing human rights and building the beloved community.
  4. Continue to support the Israeli section in their development of the web site: "Who Profits from the Occupation" and shows corporate complicity.

Nearly all participants in attendance expressed excitement to challenging the big issues identified in the ME workshop. To learn more or join the ME Issue Committee contact Chairs, Odile or Barbara. A conference call to organize WILPF ME Committee work will be set up soon!


DISARM!

Dismantle the War Economy Issue Committee came out of the Triennial WILPF Congress ready to go!* Seven of the WILPF Leadership Team were present and decided to continue  prioritizing a *Nuclear Free Future.* The two major emphases now will be

(i.) abolition of both nuclear weapons and the pursuance of nuclear power; and
(ii.) carbon free energy future. 

We are forming two cluster working groups. The Committee also welcomes those working on other links in the nuclear chain: ending uranium mining (especially on Native American lands); exposing the dangers of MOX and of developing a plutonium based economy; threats to women's reproductive systems and to our children; threats to our rivers, ground water, air  and soil;  nuclear waste sites; depleted uranium, etc. Notify nffchairs@wilpf.org if you want to join either major group, work on another link in the nuclear chain or have questions and need more information. In addition, DISARM  will continue to support those working on the Mil-Corp ConneXion, on moving the money from weapons to human rights and human needs, space demilitarization, strengthening the Bioweaopns Convention and on other aspects of disarmament and the arms trade.  The Committee works primarily with WILPF Reaching Critical Will at the United Nations, but also with the Progressive Caucus and our friends in Congress -- and seek to educate those who still act our of ignorance. To join in any of this work or subscribe to WILPF EYE on Congress also contact "nuclear free future" at nffchairs@wilpf.org.


TELLING OUR STORIES – SUPPORTING OUR MISSION

“What does telling our stories have to do with fundraising?”  This was the first question asked after our presentation.  The answer?  Everything.  The one most effective and efficient way to support WILPF is to ask for support up close and personal; telling our story, your own story and, most importantly, listening to the donor’s story. Our workshop began with Dr. Catia Confortini’s informative and insightful research into the dynamic women she interviewed who facilitated a change in direction for WILPF.  Robin Lloyd then brought to life her own grandmother’s story, Lola Maverick Lloyd, who was on the 1915 peace boat to the Hague, giving the audience an avenue to tell their individual WILPF stories later on.  The presentation turned to the pragmatic and valuable work of gathering oral histories, which Judy Adams discussed with enthusiasm and long experience. All attendees received a 2 pg. handout and a 40 page “Guidelines” document for planning a branch oral history project to be completed for WILPF’s 100th anniversary. Judy talked briefly about how her branch used the oral histories for membership events and fundraising, as well as for the historical record. The last segment was dedicated to “Lighting the Way – Your WILPF Legacy,” the JAPA Ann Chalmers Pendall Planned Giving campaign.  The JAPA co-president, Sandy Silver (stepping in for Mary Hanson Harrison), showed the recent DVD of interviews of WILPF women who gave their reasons
and life experience as examples for all WILPFers to leave a legacy for the future generations to carry on our work.


Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan: Ending These Wars

Twenty two people participated in the workshop on Ending the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and frequent visitor of the countries at war, co-facilitated the workshop. The current situation in Afghanistan was discussed, with special attention given to how the war effects the Afghan people -  their losses, despair, and continuing struggle for sovereignty and justice. They would like the US/NATO troops, advisors, and mercenaries to leave. Reflecting on Pakistan, we included maps and showed how the oil pipeline routes make Pakistan strategically important in the region. Participants wanted to understand how to take action here in the U.S. to “End these Wars”.  It was proposed that we support all Congressional initiatives that call for removal of troops. As a group we committed to calling our Senators and Representatives continually, writing letters, and vigiling / demonstrating locally, as WILPF and with other anti war groups. To learn more about the work of the End Wars Issue Committee, contact Marge Van Cleef, co-chair End the Wars Issue Committee.

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