Global Network Outreach Coordinator Trip to New York Report

10 March 2008

From: Mary Beth Sullivan

For the two weeks leading up to International Women’s Day (March 8), the United Nations held its annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.  Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom WILPF) was one of many Non-GovernmentalOrganizations (NGOs) to participate in parallel meetings across the street from the U.N. 

Carol Urner, active in both WILPF and the Global Network, arranged to have both Frida Berrigan and me speak on a panel that looked at “Women, War and Budgeting for Peace.”  Kersin Greback from Sweden, co-president of WILPF International, moderated the panel.  We were joined by another Swedish WILPF member, Eva, who has been involved post-war reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia with a role of assuring a gender perspective is included in rebuilding activities.  Sam Cook and Ray Acheson, WILPF staff members, discussed their work on two ongoing projects:  Peace Women, and Reaching Critical Will.

My job was to discuss the United States’ dependence on a permanent war economy; the excesses and folly of space weaponization; the military mindset of control and domination; and the need for conversion away from war economies to peace economies.

At least 45 women (and a few men) from many nations attended the panel discussion.  The information was well received.  After the meeting, two women approached me with great interest in attending the Global Network’s annual space organizing conference next month in Omaha. 

While I was in New York, the U.S. Air Force had a full page advertisement into the New York Times.  It is a mock-up of a newspaper with headlines and stories that U.S. citizens should most fear: cyber attacks; threats from rogue leaders; shifting world powers; hurricanes displacing thousands; terrorist threats.  In the bottom right corner of the full page is the U.S. Air Force logo with it's new motto: "Above All."  When I showed this ad to the women gathered to hear our talk, we shuddered together remembering Nazi Germany's slogan:  "Germany Over All."

I must mention that I attended a moving presentation by two women from Colombia representing the Women's Network for the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA).  They shared a desperate picture of the situation for women and children in Colombia.  Given it's rich natural resources, Colombia's land is being devastated as multinational corporations extract for their own benefit. Meanwhile three trades dominate in this war-weary nation:  the arms trade; the drug trade; and the sex trade.  The US supplies weapons to the Colombian military; Israel supplies weapons to the rebels; and of course, the US supplies weapons to Israel.

It is a corrupt, stinking mess, and the suffering and despair in that country runs deep.

I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days with Carol Urner.  I am grateful to her for doing a great job of networking and introducing me to the wonderful women working in WILPF-International's New York Office.  I hope this is the next step in a long and deepening colaborative relationship with them and the good work they do.

The last evening we were in New York, the Global Network's great friend Sung-Hee Choi from South Korea invited us to join her and Haeng Woo Lee for dinner.  Mr. Lee is also Korean; he is 77 years old, and has lived in the United States for forty years.  He is a Quaker who has been active in the work of the American Friends Service Committee. Mr. Lee is a founder of the National Association of Korean-Americans. He has a strong interest in the work of the Global Network, and proposed that the next GN Annual Conference be held in South Korea.  He has close ties with the Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK), and promised to work with them to help host next year's events.  I promised him we would discuss this at our annual meeting in Omaha.

Mary Beth Sullivan
Outreach Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, Maine  04011
(207) 443-9502


Home Page