Peace and Prosperity Through Participation?

WILPF changes the world by changing lives. Beginning with our own. We all know this to be true and, as president, I know this to be true at both the micro and macro levels. I am continually humbled by WILPF’s past and inspired by its future.

Working in the national office alongside Ria, our Director of Operations, processing the responses generated by WILPF’s annual year-end fundraising appeal is a humbling experience. I’ve opened letters from so many of you, felt gratitude for your continuing generosity, and been heartened by the personal messages that knit our community together—greetings and a reminiscence from a friend in Florida, scattered notes of appreciation and encouragement, beautiful cards and checks from women I will never have the pleasure of meeting. This past week, I opened a letter from a member in Indiana, recalling that she first joined WILPF in 1938, seventy-four years ago: “I am now 103 and running out of strength and money, but I am so thankful that I can send in my dues one more time -- and I could still read the last issue of Peace and Freedom. I liked the tone of it and I glory in your goals and perseverance.”

Keep up with WILPF around the world through the WILPF International Blog, on the homepage at

Organizational Updates:

A warm WILPF welcome to the newest member of the National Board: Cheryl Diersch of Burlington,VT, who was elected as secretary at the November board meeting. The search continues to fill the newly created position of Chair of Membership Development. Please send nominations to

In 2013, the National board will be meeting bi-monthly via conference call scheduled on the second Tuesday of every other month. The first call will be at 8:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 15. WILPF board meetings are open to all WILPF members. We are using a new call-in system that requires participants to pre-register; please write to Ria Kulenovic at if you wish to attend.

The agenda for the January meeting includes: a proposal for the next WILPF national congress, a report from the Transition Working Group, and the workplan for our Ad Hoc communications committee. As was previously announced, members wishing to give input regarding the timing, location, length, or content of the next WILPF national congress are invited to provide their comments in writing to no later than January 5, 2013.

Congratulations to members Suzie Ditmars(CA), Beth Friedman Kirk (IN), Peggy Luhrs (VT), Rita Maran (CA), Sheila Martel (MD), and Jane Weed-Pomerantz (CA)  who have been chosen to  participate in the 2013 Local2Global program and represent WILPF at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings in March. We look forward to seeing you in New York.

Those of us currently serving on the National board are similarly proud of the persevering activism of WILPF members in our branches across the country. Branches in Philadelphia and Boston staging regular “Drone Marches”, the tireless efforts of our Washington D.C. branch to outlaw the use of depleted uranium, the initiative of branches across California in forming a network to support state  ballot measures to require labeling of genetically modified foods and recognize the human right to water. We are awed by the courage of WILPF sections working to prevent and end conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Colombia, and around the globe. We are sustained by the connections WILPF provides, intellectually and emotionally enriched through these relationships, kept young by the continual opportunities WILPF membership provides to make a positive difference in the world.

Nonetheless, the naysayers make it easy to succumb to anxiety and inaction. And, election years can take a toll on those of us who come from politically-mixed families. My own family, for example, includes at least one Rush Limbaugh acolyte and at least one member of the NRA, as well as some iconic figures of the Catholic, pacifist left. Therefore, at the end of this election year, I am especially grateful for the grounding and support offered by my sister WILPF members: you kept me pro-active and sane in 2012. And, buoyed by the generosity of my WILPF family and friends, I am facing 2013 with renewed vigor—hopeful that, in 2059, when I am 103, I will still be able to demonstrate my commitment to WILPF through gifts of energy and money.The coming year is full of threats, to the environment and to human security. Extrajudicial killings authorized by presidential fiat; erosion of civil liberties sanctioned by congressional inaction; a Senate hesitant to ratify any new treaties or rejoin the International Criminal Court. The United States has never needed WILPF’s leadership more.

If you haven’t already given, please help WILPF reach its year-end fundraising goal by making an on-line contribution today.


With much love and admiration,

Laura H. Roskos, President

U.S. Section, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

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