For three days the halls of The Hague echoed with the powerful voices of 1,000 peacemakers, who had gathered at the site of WILPF’s first conference almost a century later to continue the work of the founders. The “Women’s Power to Stop War” (WPSW) peace conference welcomed participants from over 80 countries to share their knowledge and commit to lasting peace.
From 27-29 April 2015, women, men and gender-queer peacemakers participated in sessions covering military spending, gender equality, human rights and WILPFs history, with the aim of developing peacemaking strategies.
The conference included leaders and Nobel laureates alike: peace activist and Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams, Gandhi Peace Award recipient and former WILPF executive secretary Edith Ballantyne, WILPF’s own secretary general Madeleine Reese, and many others.
The peace conference took place a few days after the 2015 Centennial Conference, during which WILPF adopted its new manifesto “fit for purpose for the next one hundred years,” explained Reese at the WPSW conference. “Only we hope that we aren’t going to have to work for a hundred years,” she said. “We have to be smarter than that.”
Together the participants explored and challenged the root causes of conflict and gendered power in the world, including patriarchy, capitalism, racism, and militarism. Secondly they focused on strengthening a social movement for peace through concrete commitments for action.
The political summit was recognised as a success. It has impacted all of WILPF’s activities throughout the year. New partners and allies were found and participants left the summit focusing on potential collective actions for impact.
Building and strengthening the women’s peace movement will remain a core priority for WILPF for the years ahead.
In need of inspiration and couldn’t make it to the conference? Don’t worry, you can watch the inspirational speakers presenting at the grand opening here:
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