Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

In the April 25, 1965 order of service of our church, the following announcement appeared.

The Cincinnati branch of the WILPF invites us to hear Congressman John Gilligan speak next Friday evening on the subject: “Peace in Our Time”. The time is 8 pm and the place is the First Unitarian Church auditorium ….

You may wish to attend the dinner which will be served at 6:30. Tickets are $2.00…. We certainly may wish to participate in this very worthy public gathering for next fall we will be inviting the Women’s International League to our church to attend a dinner and weekend in the interest of an Asian Studies Conference to be held in this church in October.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom was founded in April, 1915, at The Hague. Among the 1136 women from 12 nations, were Jane Addams and Emily Greene Balch, a Boston Unitarian. Both women were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions to international understanding. During the years which are past, many voices have been heard in the interest of peace and freedom. Such voices today must still be heard and felt in the hearts and lives of all the family of man.

The WILPF still exists today as an organization devoted to promoting 1) disarmament, demilitarization and good governance; 2) environmental sustainability; 3) global economic justice. The event above scheduled in 1965 was part of a 50th anniversary celebration for the organization. This year the WILPF is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It is now headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jane Addams was raised a Quaker and took membership in the Presbyterian Church as a young adult but was a regular attendee and speaker at the Unitarian Church in Chicago. She is recognized as the founder of the social work profession. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Emily Greene Balch was raised as a Unitarian but joined the Quaker Church in 1921. Balch was also awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her work in the arena of world peace.

Image: Jane Addams.

Image source: Wikipedia