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VETERANS FOR PEACE
CONVENTION

Workshops

Friday, August 16, 2024

1:00 - 2:30 pm ET

 

The Worldview and Peace Workshop with Guidelines for VFP Research Project

Presenters: Four Arrows (Co-founder of Chapter 108)

 

Description: This workshop aims to deepen the understanding of how precolonial and colonial worldview precepts influence our thinking and actions. It will demonstrate how daily reflection on these precepts can be a powerful tool for personal, organizational, and institutional transformation, ultimately leading to relative peace and a genuine sense of interconnectedness. It will introduce the VFP role in what might be the first ever university sponsored research project studying the possible outcomes relating to regular reflections on the worldview precepts, often uninvestigated, that guide our thoughts and behaviors.

Wahinkpe Topa (Four Arrows), aka Don Trent Jacobs, Ph.D., Ed.D., is a professor at Fielding Graduate University’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership for Change. Former Dean of Education at Oglala Lakota College on Pine Ridge, he fulfilled his Sun Dance vows with the Medicine Horse Tiosopaye there and is a made relative. Having received his honorable discharge as a lieutenant in the US Marine Corps in October 1969, Four Arrows co-founded the VFP Chapter with Bud Day and Tony Van Renterghem in Flagstaff, Arizona. He served four tours of duty at Standing Rock.

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Friday, August 16, 2024

3:00 – 4:30 pm ET

Deported Veterans Advocacy Project

Panelists: Robert Vivar

Description: TBA

Robert Vivar is Co-Executive Director of the Unified U.S. Deported Veterans Resource Center. He is also a member of the VFP National Deported Veterans Advocacy Project and a member of Chapter 182 in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Deported in 2013, he began working with Deported Veterans in 2014 and has been instrumental in their return home and continues to do so today. He was repatriated in 2021. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife.

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Friday, August 16, 2024

5:00 - 6:30 pm ET

 

Korean Atomic Bomb Victims Seek Justice— And The Outlaw of Nuclear Weapons— through People’s Tribunal

Presenters: Juyeon JC Rhee, Brad Wolf, Ann Wright, Elliot Adams, Joseph Essertier, Kapsong Kim, Gil Kim

Description: As an effort to abolish nuclear weapons in the world, this panel will introduce a journey for justice by Korean atomic victims. In August of 1945, 70,000 Korean a-bomb victims were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They had been forcibly removed from their homeland by the Japanese and became victims of the atomic blasts. They were noncombatants and were not enemies of the United States. While they suffered for the past 79 years through neglect, discrimination, and oppression, they have won individual victories from the Japanese government for medicare and from the Korean government for social welfare. And now, they seek an apology from the United States. They also seek through this people’s tribunal a legal ruling that the US atomic bombings in 1945 violated international law at that time, and that nuclear weapons and the threat to use nuclear weapons are currently in violation of international law.

The tribunal has gathered participants and a renowned legal team from around the globe to build a case and move it forward with the opening gavel set for 2026 in New York City to coincide with either the UN Review Conference for the Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The tribunal is supported by numerous peace and social justice organizations and seeks to highlight the many dangers and unintended victims of nuclear weapons, particularly in this current age where the threat to use nuclear weapons has increased dramatically by nuclear weapons states.

Not only providing necessary backgrounds, the panel will discuss their own perspectives on the nuclear abolition, U.S.’s deterrence strategy, Korean a-bomb victims, and international people’s tribunal. 

Juyeon JC Rhee is a Board member of Korea Policy Institute, a steering committee member of Koreans for Woori School, and belong to other peace and anti-war organizations in the US. She has been working for peace and Reunification of Korea as a diasporic Koreanfor the last 30 years.


Brad Wolf is a former prosecutor, lawyer, and director of Peace Action Network of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He co-coordinated the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal and is the coordinator of the US organizing committee of The International People’s Tribunal on the Atomic Bombings of 1945. He recently published a book on the writings of Philip Berrigan entitled a “A Ministry of Risk”  and writes for numerous publications.


Ann Wright is a delegate of 2015 crossing of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea, a member of Advisory Board of World BEYOND War, and a juror of the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal. Ann is a retired US Army Reserve Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the US war on Iraq. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the civil war in Sierra Leone. She is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.


Elliot Adams is a a member of Veterans For Peace(VFP), New York State chapter and past president of VFP’s National Board. He served in the army as a paratrooper in the infantry in Viet Nam, Japan, Korea and Alaska in the 1960s. Over time, Elliott transformed into a nonviolent warrior, applying himself to building movements focused on creating justice and ending our war culture. Actively engaged in resisting violence, he has participated in various campaigns to close Guantanamo, peace in Gaza and Korea. 

Joseph Essertier's activism has included participation in street protests against nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster, resisting Nanking Massacre denialists, hundreds of street protests against U.S. bases in Okinawa, and educational events on Korea. Recently, Essertier has written and spoken about the dangers of nuclear weapons and NATO’s eastward expansion. He has been the Coordinator of the Japan chapter of World BEYOND War since 2017, is an editor of The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, and is an associate professor at the Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan.

Kapsong Kim is National Coordinator for Korean American Peace Fund, and Director for MinKwon Center. Since 1984, Kapsong has served at community organizations in LA, SF, DC. NY/NJ as a staff or board member for 40 years. He was also a journalist for 20 years, which includes the role of editor-in-chief at The Korea Daily New York.

Gil Kim is a member of Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea (SPARK). Participated in the 2024 Second International Forum in Hiroshima for The International People’s Tribunal to hold the U.S. accountable for dropping Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as an English interpreter.

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Saturday, August 17, 2024

4:00 – 5:30 pm ET

 

Impact of Current Wars on Climate Crisis

Presenters: Ian Mooney, Taylor Smith-Hams, Patrick Bigger, Lennard De Klerk, and Tamara Lorincz

 

Description:  Although the world is preoccupied with the two tragic ongoing wars, the other existential, relentless threat to humanity continues to bear down on us. Most of us won’t be around to experience the full, devastating impacts of the climate crisis if the US government (among others) does not act decisively, but our kids and grandkids will.

 

This workshop by the Climate Crisis & Militarism Project (CCMP) focuses how climate/environment and war/militarism intersect. Our panelists will provide an update on the status of the global climate and context on how the current conflicts exacerbate the climate crisis. Of course we demand “Ceasefire Now” to bring an end to the hostilities in Gaza and Ukraine. We call on all nations to  demilitarize and to redirect spending to deal with the climate crisis.

 

We will emphasize that Militarism Fuels the Climate Crisis and discuss how CCMP is now collaborating with 350.org US and other groups to protest military air shows as examples of air, noise and greenhouse gas pollution, with an opening in the larger issues of military waste and pollution. At the conclusion we will ask that all attendees sign the VFP-350 petition to the Secretary of the Navy to cancel ALL military air shows, as part of the No MAS campaign.

Ian Mooney is a veteran of the US Army and a graduate worker at the University of Kentucky’s Philosophy Department. Their research focuses on questions of environmental ethics, police and military abolition, and new political ontologies. In
addition to serving on the CCMP steering committee, Ian organizes with UCW local 3365, the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, the DSA, and the Red Black Alliance.
 

Taylor Smith-Hams (she/her) is a US Senior Organizer with 350.org based in Baltimore, MD. She is passionate about equitable and  intersectional public policy rooted in relationship building and systems thinking, and she views art as a critical component of social change and movement building. Taylor holds a BFA in Painting & Humanistic Studies from MICA, an PA in Sustainable Infrastructures & Public Policy from UCL, and is a Climate Change Professional (CC-P), certified by the Association of Climate Change Officers and the State of Maryland.

Patrick Bigger (he/him) is the Research Director at the Climate and Community Project. Prior to joining CCP he was a Lecturer in Economic Geography at Lancaster University in the UK and holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Kentucky. At CCP he leads work on militarism and the climate crisis plus work on the International Financial Architecture and US Public Lands policy.

 

He has written on these issues in academic journals including Science; Nature:  Ecology and Evolution; and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, and outlets including The Nation and Dissent. His work on the climate costs of militarism has been featured in media around the world.

​Lennard De Klerk has developed businesses in Central and Eastern Europe with a focus on climate change and environmental technologies. He developed climate projects under the Kyoto Protocol to purchase the resulting CO2 reductions on behalf of the Dutch government. In 2004, he founded a consultancy company to develop Joint Implementation (JI) projects in Ukraine and Russia with a portfolio of more than 55 JI Projects, which was reducing 64 million tCO2. He built the Irota EcoLodge resort in Eastern Hungary, consisting of three villas and a shared biological pool, in which a number of environmental technologies were applied. This resort is the first and so far the only carbon-neutral accommodation in Hungary. He started an initiative to determine the impact of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine on carbon emissions and is lead and co-author on emissions reports from the war in Ukraine and estimates of emissions from war in Gaza.

Tamara Lorincz is currently in the process of completing her PhD in Global Governance at the Balsillie School for International Affairs (Wilfrid Laurier University). She was awarded the Rotary International World Peace Fellowship and was a senior researcher for the International Peace Bureau in Switzerland.

 

Her focus has been on the impacts of militarism on climate with a keen eye on NATO.  She is currently on the board of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, the international advisory committee of both the Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space and World Beyond War, and has been a convenor of the Environmental Working Group of  the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Environmental Working Group.

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Sunday, August 18, 2024

12:00 – 1:30 pm ET

 

Calling Out the War Industrialists and Calling for Divestment

Presenters: Christian Sorenson, Terry Lodge, Jack Gilroy, Nick Mottern, Kathy Kelly

Description: This workshop will provide VFP members with examples of actions that are calls to conscience for the general public and war industry employees to separate themselves from weapons-making and to particularly support student organizing for divestment in the U.S. war industry.

Christian Sorensen is a researcher focused on the bundling of military and big business. A U.S. military veteran, he is a senior fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network. His research is available at thebusinessofwar.substack.com.

Terry Lodge is a longtime environmental, antiwar and civil rights lawyer in Toledo, Ohio who in 45 years has represented opponents of nuclear power and nuclear weapons, mountaintop removal, fracking and its radioactive waste, and war. He's led legal fights against illegal nuclear weapons tests. Most recently, Terry was the main author of a letter from Veterans for Peace to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, demanding a criminal investigation of the State Department's open-ended military munitions support for Israel during the ongoing Palestine genocide.

Nick Mottern is Co-coordinator with Kathy Kelly of BanKillerDrones.org and is an organizer of the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal, which is calling for the prosecution of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, RTX/Raytheon and killer drone-maker General Atomics accountable for aiding and abetting U.S. war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and violations of International Human Rights Law that have occurred since 9/11. He is also a member of the national board of directors of Veterans For Peace and a member of Demilitarize Western Massachusetts.

Kathy Kelly is an American peace activist, pacifist and author, one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, and, until the campaign closed in 2020, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. As part of peace team work in several countries, she has traveled to Iraq twenty-six times, notably remaining in combat zones during the early days of both US–Iraq wars.

 

From 2009 to 2019, her activism and writing focused on Afghanistan, Yemen, and Gaza, along with domestic protests against US drone policy. She has been arrested more than sixty times at home and abroad, and written of her experiences among targets of US military bombardment and inmates of US prisons.

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Sunday, August 18, 2024

2:00 – 3:30 pm ET

Resisting Repression: Strategies of Solidarity in the New McCarthy Era

Panelists: Joshua Shurley (Moderator), Jodie Evans, Jesse Nevel, Allie Wong

Description: In the face of escalating efforts by the US government to marginalize peace groups, journalists, activists, and other dissenting voices, this timely panel discussion examines strategies to navigate the current landscape of censorship, repression and persecution. Our panel of activists—Jodie Evans of CODEPINK, Jesse Nevel of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, and Allie Wong of Columbia University—share their firsthand experiences and insights with being targets of these malign efforts. From media smears to financial targeting to malicious legal prosecution, these tactics aim to silence those who challenge the status quo and manufacture consent for a wide range of despotic global and domestic policies that harken back to the bad old days of the Red Scare. What lessons can we draw from these experiences to strengthen our collective voice and protect civil liberties and the pursuit of peace? Together, we'll explore effective strategies for building solidarity, resistance, and resilience in the fight against this ongoing tyranny as we seek to build a culture of peace.

Jodie Evans is the co-founder and a current board member of CODEPINK. She has been a visionary advocate for peace for decades, as evident through the numerous documentary films she has produced and the books she has written. Whether in board rooms or war zones, legislative offices or neighborhood streets, Jodie’s enthusiasm for a world at peace infuses conciliation, optimism, and activism wherever she goes. More recently, she and her group have been targeted by senior members of Congress for their calling out of US policies of genocide and reckless brinksmanship.

Jesse Nevel is the current Chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement—an anti-colonial organization seeking reparations, African liberation, and self-determination. They discuss the ongoing persecution and prosecution of a trio of movement leaders known as the “Uhuru Three” by the federal government on a set of bogus charges, as well as the larger implications of this case on free speech and mass movement organizing in US society.

Allie Wong is a PhD student in journalism at Columbia University in New York City, and one of the recent student organizers during the Justice for Palestine protest movement. Her research areas explore how dis/misinformation, conspiracy theories, and radicalization inform domestic extremism and foreign policy. She has previously worked with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research providing strategic, topical and thematic input, research, and organization toward establishing a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East.

Joshua Shurley is the current national vice president of Veterans For Peace. In addition to teaching political science at Fresno City College, Josh is a former conflict researcher specializing in US foreign policy in Africa, is the the lead organizer of VFP Chapter 180 in Fresno, California, and is involved in several organizations, projects, and committees related to peace and resistance to imperialism.  ​

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Sunday, August 18, 2024

4:00 - 5:30 pm ET

 

The Rising Multi-polar world: Will the Empire start World War to prevent it?

Presenters: Mike Wong (Moderator), Matt Hoh, K.J. Noh, and Ken Hammond

Description: After the Cold War, the US neocon elite planed to dominate the world.  The US attacked and wrecked multiple nations in the Balkans, Central Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.  But China continued its peaceful development and is now helping these nations develop and/or recover.  The US considers this alter-development a threat, and now China, Russia, and its allies have been designated "revisionist powers"--official enemies– and our Washington elite are attacking, sanctioning, & threatening everyone who will not join us against China and the rising multi-polar global south.  

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed a secret order designating the US to be in "active combat with China."  Kurt Campbell, Deputy Secretary of State, has threatened to unleash "A magnificent symphony of death."   General Minihan and Admiral Davidson expect war in 2025 and 2027, respectively.  Will the US trigger global war for hegemony, or go gently into that good night?  The planet is at stake. 

Matt Hoh is the Associate Director of the Eisenhower Media Network, an organization of expert former military, intelligence and civilian national security officials who seek to reach broad, cross-partisan audiences in diverse media outlets and among the American people – who increasingly sense that U.S. foreign policy today is not making them, or the world, safer. Matt is a former Marine Corps captain, Afghanistan State Department officer, a disabled Iraq War veteran and is a Senior Fellow Emeritus with the Center for International Policy.

 

Matt has been a prolific writer and speaker about issues of war and peace. Matt serves on the advisory boards of many peace organizations including Veterans for Peace and World Beyond War and is an associate member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

K.J. Noh is a peace activist, journalist, and scholar specializing in the geopolitics of the Asian continent. He writes for Asia Times, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, and other publications. He is special correspondent for KPFA Flashpoints on the Pivot to Asia, the Koreas, and the Pacific.  KJ Noh is a South Korean Army veteran and a member of Veterans For Peace and Pivot To Peace. 


Ken Hammond is a professor at New Mexico State University specializing in China and East Asia.  He spent ten years living and studying in China, is fluent in Mandarin, holds a B.A. in History & Political Science from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. in History & East Asian Languages from Harvard University.  He is the author of several books and courses, and his latest book is "China's Revolution and the Quest for a Socialist Future," published by 1804 Books. 

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Sunday, August 18, 2024

6:00 – 7:30 pm ET

Moral Injury in Today’s Wars and a Future Care Model

Panelists: Chris J. Antal, Joe Wiinikka-Lydon

Description: Dr Wiinikka-Lydon will look at the ways in which moral injury transforms life in societies for both soldiers and civilians in war zones.  Moral injury harms not only the psyche but the way one sees, imagines, and hopes, and imagination is central to the prospect of post-conflict peacebuilding.

The Rev Antal will focus on an innovative moral injury group model developed at the VA in Philadelphia and now available for adoption at other VA Medical Centers. Participants will be introduced to the group model as well as outcome data from past participants.

Chris J. Antal, (Doctor of Ministry, Hartford Seminary 2017), is Staff Chaplain at the Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he has led a military moral injury group since 2015.


Reverend Antal is a minister in full fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association, with ecclesiastical endorsement from the UUA to work in VA. Prior to joining VA, Chris was a military chaplain and a congregational minister.
 

​Joe Wiinikka-Lydon is currently a researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has researched moral injury for a decade and a half, and has previously been a college-level instructor at several universities. He received a doctorate in religion and ethics, focusing on religion, conflict,and peace, from Emory University in 2015.

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