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Press Release: Inaugural Feminist Peace Summit Calls for Reshaping United States Foreign Policy 

April 24, 2024

Contact: Mac Hamilton
(510) 845-5789 ext. 144


Inaugural Feminist Peace Summit Calls for Reshaping United States Foreign Policy 


DENVER, Colo., April 24, 2024—As President Biden faces intensifying criticism over his support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza and the threat of a wider conflict looms in the Middle East, leading feminist and demilitarization scholars, activists, and movement leaders will convene at the inaugural Feminist Peace Summit in Denver, Colorado from May 1-3 to call for a new U.S. foreign policy that centers peace, justice, and ecological sustainability, and the leadership of people of color, diasporic communities, and Indigenous Peoples.


Organized by the Feminist Peace Initiative, a collaboration between Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, MADRE, and Women Cross DMZ, in partnership with The Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver, the three-day summit will include plenary sessions on why this moment calls for feminist peace, how feminist foreign policy can resolve global conflicts, what anti-militarist grassroots organizing looks like in communities of color, and how feminist strategies can confront authoritarianism across borders. 


Feminist Peace Summit organizers see the feminist and anti-war movements as interconnected struggles, citing the fact that war disproportionately impacts people according to gender and the need to adopt feminist principles in order to reorient U.S. foreign policy away from forever wars. They argue that the voices of those most impacted by colonialism, imperialism, and militarism should be prioritized in anti-war organizing. 


U.S. spending on the military has reached $825 billion, making up over half of the total U.S. discretionary spending, even as warmaking causes ecological harm and the Pentagon is a major contributor to climate change. Meanwhile, U.S. foreign policy is highly undemocratic and lacks transparency between policymakers and the American public, leaving many feeling disillusioned with the strength of their voice in political decision-making. For example, a majority (52%) of U.S. voters support halting arms shipments to Israel, which have been used to decimate Gaza’s civilian population, yet the U.S. government continues to provide political backing, U.S. weapons, and military aid to Israel using taxpayer dollars.


“The Sié Center is proud to host the Feminist Peace Summit to connect academics, activists, policymakers, and community members in order to strategize how to catalyze a shift in U.S. foreign policy away from war and towards more peace and security,” said Dr. Marie Berry, Director, Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy. 


“Wherever communities face war, violent repression, or climate catastrophe, feminist grassroots leaders are mobilizing to respond,” said Diana Duarte, Director of Policy and Strategic Engagement for MADRE. “Imagine a foreign policymaking space that embraced their expertise as essential, and that resourced their proven and locally driven solutions for peace, security, and justice. Instead, elite-driven U.S. foreign policymaking — often steeped in harmful, colonial, and militarized thinking — has worsened the catastrophes that marginalized communities face. This Summit is an opportunity for feminist peace activists, scholars, and human rights advocates to exchange insights from their work addressing the most complex, protracted crises in the world and to strategize transformative ways forward.”


“Work engaging Indigenous rights, Black liberation, and migration has a history of transcending borders,” said Kizia Esteva- Martinez, Grassroots Feminisms and Gender Justice National Organizer at Grassroots Global Justice. “Inspired by this history, we are intentionally centering these communities in shaping our foreign policy agenda.” 


“U.S. foreign policy has consistently favored military force over diplomacy and peace, which has not made us safer,” said Christine Ahn, Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ. “Now more than ever, we must transform U.S. foreign policy, which will require adopting feminist principles and centering diasporic voices whose communities have been most impacted by U.S. forever wars. Unless we change course, we will never be able to achieve true human security.”


Speakers at the Feminist Peace Summit include:


  1. Margo Okazawa-Rey (San Francisco State University)
  2. Cynthia Enloe (Clark University)
  3. Toni Haastrup (University of Manchester)
  4. Sara Haghdoosti (Win Without War)
  5. Linda Burnham (women’s rights and racial justice writer and activist)
  6. Kavita Ramdas (Princeton University)
  7. Yanar Mohammed (Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq)
  8. Janene Yazzie (NDN Collective)
  9. Lara Kiswani (Arab Resource and Organizing Center)
  10. Nana Gyamfi (Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Justice Warriors 4 Black Lives)

The summit will also include breakout workshops, training sessions, and art-based political education. Although in-person registration is closed (with exceptions for press), all plenaries are
available virtually with registration. The full schedule and list of speakers can be found here.




About the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy


The Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy is a globally recognized center of excellence at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies that advances knowledge and practice around global security, prosperity, and social justice through innovative research, interdisciplinary education, and thoughtful engagement with others who strive for a more just, prosperous, and peaceful world.



About the Feminist Peace Initiative


The Feminist Peace Initiative — led by Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, MADRE, and Women Cross DMZ — seeks to reorient U.S. foreign policy away from militarism and endless wars towards one that advances justice, peace and collective security.


MADRE is an international human rights organization that transcends geographies and generations to deliver sustainable gender, racial, climate, and disability justice. We partner with grassroots movements in more than 40 countries, working side-by-side with local leaders on policy solutions, grantmaking, capacity bridging, and legal advocacy to achieve our shared vision for justice.


Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) is an alliance of over 60 U.S.-based grassroots organizing groups working for climate justice, gender justice, an end to war, and a just transition to the next economy.


Women Cross DMZ is the leading feminist voice in the movement to bring lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula.