2009 | Gila Svirsky

group of women in black

In 2009, the Arkansas WAND women decided to bring an Israeli peace activist to Little Rock. This goal came after many discussions about our lack of knowledge about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Our vision was to initiate an effort to bring to our community national and international leaders who represent points of view which lead to peaceful solutions. We were interested in grass roots activists like us, not academics or media pundits. So our first project was to bring Gila Svirsky, an Israeli activist, writer and leader in the women’s peace movement, to Arkansas to facilitate discussions about the Women’s International Peace Movement and strategies for promoting peace and reconciliation. This became “Gila Svirsky and the Power of Peace from the Ground Up” September 17 – 23, 2009.

“As the world slides into a scarier place, we need to turn our focus to peace– -how to achieve it, how to maintain it and how to promote the power of peace. Getting to know and understand each other is a good first step.”

Here is a documentary film about Gila Svirsky’s visit in Little Rock: Meet you In Jerusalem

Plot Summary: Six women reminisce about the visit of Gila Svirsky, an Israeli peace activist, to Arkansas. Ms. Svirsky, winner of the Bremer Peace Prize in Germany, was invited by Arkansas Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) after they discovered that the white phosphorus used by the Israelis in Gaza in December 2008 was manufactured at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas. Wanting to draw attention to the complex political and social issues confronting both sides in the search of peace in the Middle East, WAND provided a number of venues by which students and the public were able to listen and question this extraordinary social activist.