Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 1, Geneva (partial)

We began today with the Gertrud Baer seminar, with a number of young members as well as both new and experienced older members. It was quite a large group, actually, but we made a big amoeboid shape (not exactly circular) and listened to presentations on the structure and history of WILPF, followed by discussion and questions.

After a brief break, we split off and YWILPF was able to meet and do some concrete planning. I would love to share it with you but I'm afraid this will have to wait, as Ella Page was the notetaker, and we don't have her here.... :)

Many interesting facts emerged in the discussion today of which we were not previously aware. For example, Susi has a photo (which we will acquire for US use) of Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at a WILPF rally. Seriously. Also, before the UN charter was adopted, when WILPF had first begun to work in Geneva with the League of Nations, Gandhi came to speak to the countries assembled. He was refused entry, so the lovely women of our organisation set up a conference for him in Victoria hall and within 24 hours he was speaking to an overflow crowd. NOW the UN recognizes him. There's a statue of him outside. In the clothing they found so inappropriate at the time.

Another example of when we were right was during the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. WILPF actually had to meet in Switzerland, and phone in its consensus to representatives in France, because our German members were not allowed to enter the country, and the others refused to meet without them. WILPF denounced the treaty, claiming that it laid the foundation of a renewed conflict, that it was revenge rather than peacemaking. Then, unfortunately, World War II proved them correct.

So basically, WILPF is amazing. More to come.


  • I'm glad y'all are having such a great time! And I look forward to hearing about the concrete plans and your experience of the IB meeting.

    I'm fairly certain we've used that picture of MLK at a meeting before. A pic of Coretta Scott King was part of our membership brochure for a rather long time.

    By Blogger C.J. Minster, at 9:47 PM  

  • This is the first time I've heard the stories about WILPF's role in havint Ghandi speak at the League of Nations, and the phone call to our German members during the signing of the Versailles Treaty. Just goes to remind us that where there is a WILPF, there is a way!

    Thanks for the great post. I look forward to reading more of them. Regards to all Y-WILPFers.

    By Anonymous Sandy Silver, at 6:54 AM  

  • Sounds like you're learning good things to know and having a great time doing it - look forward to hearing more about it and your plans going forward. Best wishes for the rest of your adventures in Geneva! bln

    By Anonymous Barbara L. Nielsen, at 8:06 AM  

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