Edith was Secretary General of WILPF from 1969 until 1992, and its International President from 1992 until 1998. Born in 1922, Edith and her family fled their home in Bohemia in the face of Nazism and settled in Canada as refugees. She moved to Geneva in 1948, where she lives to this day.
As part of the celebration of this remarkable milestone and Edith’s legacy for economic and social justice, WILPF has created a short film titled “Peacemakers: A Conversation with Edith Ballantyne”, in which she shares insights into her humble beginnings and her early days as a prominent and active member of WILPF since 1968.
“My friend sometimes called me just an idealist. I’m not an idealist. I just think that’s what we are capable of. And that life is so much better that way than to be fighting one another all the time or competing with another, trying to be better than somebody else.”– Edith Ballantyne
It is truly impossible to recount all of Edith’s work and achievements over the past century. In addition to her former roles as International President and Secretary General of WILPF, she previously served as President and Secretary of the Conference of NGOs and established the International Women’s Day Disarmament Seminars. She has also worked extensively on the UN’s conferences on racism, women, human rights, and the environment, as well as special sessions of the General Assembly on Disarmament. And the list goes on.
We would like to take this opportunity to show our gratitude for Edith’s lifelong dedication to peacemaking and the endless inspiration and learnings that she has brought to the many people she has touched over the years. Once again, happy birthday, Edith!