US Board Says Good-Bye To Mary Day Kent
After eight years, Mary Day Kent is leaving her position as Executive Director of US Section WILPF. Her first introduction to the members of WILPF was at the 1999 Triennial Congress in St. Louis. Ever since then, it has been quite a road trip. Managing 5,000 members is no easy task and Mary Day's handling of emails, phone calls, building emergencies, budget crunches and ever changing boards is a credit to her calm nature.
Mary Day has guided WILPF through an especially volatile period of U.S. history, including the invasions in the Gulf, Bosnia and Iraq, and a myriad of major issues of violence, local, national and international. She speaks fluent Spanish and has been called upon for translation in many international meetings and conferences, both within WILPF and in collaborations with many other organizations. One of her prize accomplishments was having a significant part in obtaining grant money for translation equipment for the International office in Geneva.
WILPF has maintained a great deal of credibility and stability during her tenure. Mary Day especially enjoyed having ushered the organization through important milestones-- the 85th and 90th anniversaries, 3 International and 2 National Congresses. During our present history with the war in Iraq, she coordinated WILPF's role in the "Counting the Cost" project which made visible the real number of lives lost and pushed for WILPF members to collaborate with ACLU in challenging the Government's illegal wiretapping of activists by filing a FOIA request on behalf of WILPF.
WILPF members were always confident when Mary Day would speak publicly on any political topic. Her knowledge and political analysis is superb and she would fill her presentations with human stories that enhanced history. This particular gift will surely be missed.
When she speaks about the history of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, it's very clear that she knows her subject. As Executive Director of WILPF US, she has kept close watch over the original bound report from the historic 1915 meeting at the Hague, where WILPF was born. Her intimate recollection of specific passages from 350-page plan that Jane Addams, Dr Arletta Jacobs, Emily Green Balch and some 1400 other women devised to put an end to World War One reveals that to Mary Day, this is not just an antique artifact but rather a source of continuing insight into how to educate the world about building a culture of peace.
Peace education and advocacy have been a lifelong passion for Mary Day, who came to her position at WILPF with extensive prior staff experience with the American Friends Service Committee, School for International Training and the Friends Peace Committee. After graduating from Wellesley College, Mary Day studied translation at Georgetown University and lived in Latin America, eventually taking a position at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology
She is most proud of representing WILPF at many significant peace events over the years. Most recently, she worked with the Columbian WILPF delegation to the 2007 International Congress in Bolivia and as part of the AFSC delegation to the International Conference to Abolish Foreign Military Bases held in Ecuador.
Mary Day has been a tenacious envoy for WILPF over the past eight years and WILPF will miss her very much. We appreciate her bringing to light and continuing to remind us of the important historical legacy of WILPF and we wish her every success in all her future endeavors.
2005-2008 National Board, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom