This site is no longer active…

29 04 2015

Thank you for your interest in the Peace Development Fund. We are excited to announce the launch of our new website and encourage you to take a look! This site is no longer active, please visit


Women De-Militarize the Zone Organizes a Historic March for Peace in Korea

28 04 2015

On October 30, 2000 the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 was passed, recognizing the significance of women’s “equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.”


WomenCrossDMZ at the UN Conference on Status of Women, March 11th 2015.

Fifteen years later, PDF grantee Women De-Militarize the Zone models women’s leadership in peacemaking.

Women De-Militarize the Zone plans on crossing the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea. “It’s hard to imagine any more physical symbol of the insanity of dividing human beings,” states the co-chair and feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Indeed, the DMZ is highly militarized and has been dividing Korean families for roughly 6o years.

Thirty international women peacemakers will be walking on May 24, 2015. Counting two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, the women’s delegation will hold an international peace symposium in Pyongyang and Seoul where they hope to engage in a dialogue with Korean women. “Women ‘s leadership is urgently needed to break the impasse, revive diplomacy, and put squarely into the security discourse the experiences of those most directly impacted by military violence,” states Christine Ahn, the coordinator of the march.

The Korean conflict started in 1950, when North Korea, supported by the USSR and China invaded South Korea. Even though a ceasefire agreement was signed in 1953, no peace treaty has ever followed. Sixty years later, North and South Korea are still at war.

While people struggle to survive an economic crisis in North Korea, governments in the region deprive their population of developmental investments in order to increase militarization. Instead of investing in health care or education, Korean officials pay for weapons. Demilitarization is a crucial issue in the region.


Women De-Militarize the Zone after the UN Conference on Status of Women

While organizing the walk, Women De-Militarize the Zone faced a huge challenge: getting the authorization from both North and South Korea, as well as the United Nations. The UN offered its support to facilitate the walk if North and South Korea were to authorize the walk. Permission was granted just last week.  “We believe that the political will must exist to pressure political leaders towards breaking that impasse, and this march could provide a huge catalyzing force.”

“In addition to organizing the march, we would very much like to build a grassroots movement of women dedicated to seeing peace on the Korean peninsula,” says our grantee. The action of Women De-Militarize the Zone is not going to stop after May 24th. Members are planning to organize educational workshops that inform and mobilize women for international peace-making.

Idle No More: A Movement to Know About

23 01 2013


‘Idle No More’; Indigenous Peoples Movement Spreads Across N. America, World, With Urgent Environmental & Human Rights Message (via Planetsave)

It is being called the largest indigenous mass mobilization in recent history. You may not have heard yet of the ‘Idle No More’ movement, but you will; it’s momentum has been steadily growing in recent weeks, and, is being fed by a myriad of kindred human rights movements, environmental organizations…

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Who’s Next, What’s Next, Why?

18 12 2012

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to sustain the village.  This logic, this truth, goes on: it takes a nation to sustain a community and to raise a child.  And finally it takes all of us, global citizens everywhere, to sustain the aspirations, the dreams and the hopes of all families.

No child should be subjected to the violence that was perpetrated in Newtown, CT, a community in PDF’s larger New England neighborhood.  So we have a responsibility to respond, to raise our voice and to ask some of the questions that need to be asked.

I don’t know about you, but I feel the same horror and anguish when a drone blows up women and children at a wedding party as when I see the endless coverage of Newtown.  Malala Yousufzai from Pakistan, Oscar Grant and all those children in Somalia, or Aurora, or . . . the killings of young men and young women on the streets of Oakland or Roxbury or Nairobi.  Parents all feel the same grief.  Relatives feel the same sorrow and nations feel the same wounds.

In each incident, we have to ask ourselves not only who’s next, what’s next and why, but we have to ask ourselves, what is our responsibility? How are we involved, and what can we do about it?  We have allowed school programs to be gutted in the past thirty years; we have fought four major conflicts in the past twenty years; we have a virulent, right wing ideology which is not accepting of “others.”

It comes to all of us to recognize ourselves in grieving parents, in a shattered community, in the world we witness every day, watching as children pay and pay for a world we as adults can’t seem to get right.

Our universality is what is at stake.

Paul Haible

What’s in a Peace Talk?

26 11 2012

At a Peace Talk this fall, one of our grantee speakers wanted to know what our criteria was for a successful event.  Would it be the number attending?  Donations to PDF as a result?

No, we told him.  It is not the number of attendees, because at PDF’s Peace and Justice Center in Amherst, we can’t hold hundreds of people.  If there are 15 to 20 gathered in our living room, that is a perfect size for a discussion.

No, it is not the donations PDF would receive, we continued.  We don’t use the Peace Talks to buttonhole people into giving.  Our donors are loyal, and we dare say they would give to PDF’s work even if there wasn’t a Peace Talk on the event schedule.

But a Peace Talk is an opportunity to publicize the work of our grantees and engage our audience in the ongoing work of organizing.  That is how we measure success.

Anyone who comes to a Peace Talk can hear directly from our grantees about the challenging and inspiring work they do.  It is also an opportunity to network with others working for progressive social change, be they grantees, donors or students from the local colleges.  Not a Peace Talk ends before we hear folks exchanging ideas and email addresses.  And the grantees say they couldn’t do that—get out of their daily routine and the silos that build up around them—without someone from PDF inviting them to a Peace Talk.

Grantees also say, and we never have to ask them to do so, that they couldn’t do what they do without PDF’s early support.  “You supported us when we didn’t know if we could stay working or close,” said Anne Richmond from Gardening the Community.  “You kept us going.”

“You were our very first grant,” said Josie Shagwert of Fuerza Laboral.  “That was a huge vote of confidence in us.”

At Peace Talks we talk about victories and losses, the 99 percent and the one percent, the stories we know and the ones nobody writes about.  We talk about how to move forward and how to keep going.  As Jaclyn Friedman of Women, Action and the Media said at our last Peace Talk, “I have to remind myself that the partial wins are still wins.”  We need to keep reminding ourselves of that too, as we define success.

“Each of us takes the piece of the work that we can do,” says Jaclyn.  For PDF, it is providing the space for organizing.

I Want My Country Back

23 08 2012

The United Nations has undertaken a formal study of the Doctrine of Discovery, that which “authorized” and made acceptable the taking of indigenous lives and lands throughout the western hemisphere and around the world. This was “because” the indigenous (original) people were not fully human, and certainly not Christian. There has been a white (European) supremacy presumption in the U.S. going all the way back to before the founding fathers.

A white man enters a place of worship, the Oak Creek Sikh Gurdwara (Temple) in Wisconsin, to shoot ten people, six to death. Could this have anything to do with power/powerlessness in the context of the ravages of the “free enterprise” system? Or with U.S. history, slavery or racial profiling? It may be one strand of our cultural DNA.

At PDF, looking at this brilliant blind spot, we understand that developing peace means understanding history, coming to terms with it, building new systems, re-programming ourselves, regardless of cultural identity, to build a peaceful presence in the world.

May the community of Oak Creek heal in peace!


2011 in review

5 01 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.