At the 2013 World Social Forum

by Robin Lloyd, WILPF-US Development Committee Chair

Four WILPF members attended the World Social Forum in Tunis, Tunisia in late March. Social Forums have been taking place around the world since 2001, but this was the first World Forum to be located in an Arab country. We were all eager to get to know our MENA (Middle East/North Africa) sisters. None of us knew the other WILPF members were coming. Heidi recognized me with my END WAR T-shirt. Most of us attended the enthusiastic Women's Assembly that opened the forum, and several of us took part in a women's workshop sponsored by Global Grassroots Justice Alliance and the World March of Women. Watch a video of the meeting here. Heidi Meinzolt, WILPF-Germany, wrote a thoughtful essay that can be read on the WILPF International website and I wrote a report that is viewable on our Toward Freedom website.

During the short time that we were together we agreed that WILPF attendance at World, Regional and National Social Forums is important for our global outreach. Despite an agenda that included some 1,000 workshops, hardly any dealt with themes important to WILPFers. There was no mention of UNSCR 1325 and little reference to the UN, human security, human rights, conflict prevention and transitional justice. Heidi noted “I believe that a stronger and explicit WILPF voice strategically involved in debates on women could have made a difference and would have attracted both young and older (women) activists. 

Apart from the WSF, many events will be coming up in the next few years commemorating the centennial of World War I. For example, various history departments of universities in the former Yugoslavia will be sponsoring a conference in Sarejevo, where the war began, on June 19 and 20, 2014. The aim of the conference is to consider the causes, the course, and the consequences of the First World War and also its legacy and its place in the collective memory today. WILPF should be there. For more information, contact Robin Lloyd at

Photo: (l to r) Robin Lloyd WILPF US,  Annalisa Milani, WILPF Italy, MarlèneTuininga, WILPF France, Heidi Meinzolt, WILPF Germany.

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