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Opening of the WILPF 100 Conference: but the beginning of something memorable

April 27, 2015

1,000 peacemakers from all over the world, journalists from several countries, Nobel Peace Laureates, well-known human rights activists, an amazing line up of speakers: we are all gathered in The Hague for the opening of the WILPF Centennial Conference, Women’s Power to Stop War.

WE ALL HAVE THE POWER TO STOP WAR

Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee at the opening plenary of the WILPF 100 Conference

Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee at the opening plenary of the WILPF 100 Conference. Photo by Mir Grebäck von Melen

“This is the time when we need to be together more than ever before… It’s time to stand up, sisters and do some of the most unthinkable things… We have the power to stop war and turn our upsidedown world right.”

The words of Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee resonate in the mind of the hundreds of people attending the highly anticipated opening session of the Women’s Power to Stop War Conference.

The plenary is a whirlwind of emotions and inspirational speeches by some of the most committed peacemakers worldwide, including WILPF’s Secretary General Madeleine Rees; Nobel Laureates Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Mairead Maguire and Jody Williams; ultimate WILPF member Edith Ballantyne and Democracy Now! Executive Producer Amy Goodman.

LAUNCHING A GLOBAL MOVEMENT

“What is heroic is when people come together to save the planet… If we really want to transform the world, we need to reclaim peace… Nobody changes the world alone. We need to come together,” reiterates Nobel Laureate Jody Williams.

“This is a movement for change… It starts today, in this room. Let’s do it!” says our own Madeleine Rees. The message that comes out of this session is a powerful call to action for us all: we ALL can play a role in peacemaking. This is the reason why we are all here today.

COMMEMORATING 100 YEARS OF PEACEMAKING

Conference opening and WILPF’s newly adopted Manifesto. Photo by Mir Grebäck von Melen

The Conference is the culmination of years of work and planning to commemorate WILPF’s 100th anniversary in The Hague, the city where our organisation was founded in 1915, and reiterate our commitment to peace in a world that is still torn by violent conflicts.

Five plenaries, more than 40 sessions, over 100 speakers, 1,000 participants from over 80 countries – including women from war zones: it is impossible not to feel that what we are living here and now is something memorable, something powerful, something truly global.

 

ARE YOU READY TO BE PART OF THE CHANGE?

Indeed, looking at the audience of the Conference, what strikes the most is the incredible diversity of people uniting this global movement. Women and men of all ages, from all over the world and from different political, philosophical, religious and ethnic backgrounds – some of them wearing beautiful local dresses – are all here today.

“Are you all ready to be part of this great change?” asks WILPF’s Vice President Joy Onyesoh with a passionate smile and a determined glimpse in her eyes.

C’est parti! The Conference has started.

Check back on this website and on our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on the Women’s Power to Stop War Conference.

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