Cora Weiss: Life and Work of a Women and Peace Activist

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The Cora Weiss Fellowship for Young Women Peacebuilders aims to support the development of young women peacebuilders and ensure that young people emulate Cora’s vision for sustainable peace and gender equality as strong and integral parts of our global culture. In this article we provide a glimpse on the Life and Work of Cora Weiss and immeasurable achievements for women and peace.

Who is Cora Weiss?

Cora Weiss is a long-time peace and social justice leader and activist.

Cora Weiss: Life and Work of a Women and Peace Activist

As President of the Hague Appeal for Peace, she is well known as ardent activist since the early ‘60’s, when she was a co-founder of Women Strike for Peace which played a major role in bringing about the end of nuclear testing in the atmosphere. She was a leader in the anti-Vietnam war movement, organized demonstrations, including the largest one on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC.

As Co-Chair and Director of the Committee of Liaison with Families of Prisoners Detained in Vietnam, she organized the exchange of mail between families and POW’s in Vietnam which revealed and names of those alive and arranged for and accompanied some returning POW pilots. For ten years Ms Weiss was a volunteer teacher in the NY City public school system.

As a Trustee of Hampshire College, she started the campus campaign to divest stocks in companies doing business in South Africa. She has a long record of support for the United Nations and as such she hosted colonized Africans in the 1950’s who were petitioning for the independence of their countries. She has devoted most of her life to the peace movement, the movement for the advancement of women, and the civil rights movement.

Cora Weiss: Career and Work

Member of Women Strike for Peace (WSP), serving on its national board from 1961-1973.

Co-chair and director of the Committee of Liaison (COL) with Families of Servicemen Detained in North Vietnam. As part of this group Weiss organized the exchange of mail between Prisoners of War (POW) in Vietnam and their families. Weiss and the COL arranged for the return of some POWs.

President and a co-founder of The Hague Appeal for Peace. She has lead a campaign dedicated to the abolition of war. It seeks to re-focus on the vision of a world in which violent conflict is publicly acknowledged as illegitimate, illegal, and fundamentally unjust. To implement that vision, the Hague Appeal for Peace has launched a Global Peace Education Campaign.

President of the International Peace Bureau (Nobel Laureate 1910).

Ms. Weiss participated in the Nobel Centennial Symposium held in Oslo, Norway in December 2001.

She is also Joint-Principal of the Peace Boat’s Global University, an Advisory Board Member of Peace Child International’s Millennium Action Fund, and Honorary Patron of the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations.

Cora Weiss was also one of the civil society drafters of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution, UNSCR 1325. This resolution was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on October 31, 2000. The resolution acknowledged the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls.

Awards & Recognition

Ms. Weiss is the recipient of numerous peace awards from around the world, among them the following:

Nominee, Nobel Peace Prize, 2000, 2001.

Peace Caucus U.N. Award, New York City. September 1999.

Aggrey Award of the Phelps Stokes Fund for work with African students and liberation movements during anti-colonial years, New York City. June 1998.

Leadership Award, West Side Peace Action, New York City. January 1998.

Kairos Peace Award. Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, New York. November 1997

Peace Studies Medal, Manhattan College, New York. April 1997

George F. Kennan Award, New Jersey Peace Action. April 1996.

Joseph C. Wilson Award. Rochester Association for the United Nations. October 24, 1995. 50th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Lifetime Achievement Award, Peace Action National Congress. 1992

Olive Branch Award. Juror 1991.

Further Reading on Cora Weiss

Cora Weiss (KeyWiki article).

Vision for a New Foreign Policy by Cora Weiss (January 6, 2009).

Unlikely Events Recall Story of This President (August 27, 2009).

Cora Weiss: A Life in Full (August 18, 2016).

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