Monday, 13 April 2015

Commemorating the Centenary of the Women's Peace Congress of 1915

The following is a cross-post from the Histories of Activism Group.

On Monday, 20 April, the Histories of Activism group is organising an event at the Newcastle Lit & Phil to commemorate the centenary of the Women's Peace Congress of 1915 - a major international meeting held at The Hague. Over 1,200 women came together to coordinate their efforts to bring an end to the Great War. Following on from their meeting in the Netherlands, participants travelled to European capitals to lobby the representatives of the warring nations.  The event also resulted in the creation of the International Committee of Women for a Permanent Peace, which was later transformed into the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) - a major pacifist organisation that still exists today.

A century on, our 'Women as Peacemakers' evening will allow us to reflect on the history, legacy and ongoing relevance of the women's peace movement. The event is open to the public and will start at 6:00 pm.

Delegates to the April 1915 conference.
  • Daniel Laqua (Senior Lecturer in European History at Northumbria University) will introduce the event by commenting on the history of peace movement up to 1914 as well as outlining the main features of the congress at The Hague.
  • Sarah Hellawell (PhD candidate in British History at Northumbria University) will present findings from her doctoral research. She will focus on the British women who attended the congress as well as the subsequent creation of a British WILPF section. She will show how the British women's movement emerged from a section of the pre-war suffrage movement, and will also consider the tension between national loyalty to the British war effort and women's transnational efforts for peace.
  • Ingrid Sharp (Senior Lecturer in German at Leeds University) will discuss the aims and achievements of the women at The Hague, explaining why it is important to remember them. In doing so, she will draw attention to the legacy and significance of this year's centenary, shedding light on the relationship between peace, women's rights and human rights.
  • Jon Coburn (PhD candidate in US History at Northumbria University) will draw on his doctoral research on women's activism for peace in 1960s/1970s America. He will point out that women's groups have had a long and positive role to play in the American peace movement. He will highlight the connections between different waves of activism and demonstrate the enduring relevance of women's peace history for contemporary peace groups.

 Participation in the event is free. There is no need to pre-register, but if you would like to let us know that you are coming, you can do so via our Facebook page.

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