Back row, left to right; Cheryl Diersch, Max Vose, Cyndy Bittinger, Charlotte Dennett, Joan Ecklein, Barbara Soros. (Seated) Robin Lloyd, Val Moghadam. (not pictured: Eileen Kurkowski, who took the photo, and Lesley Becker).
Notes from the Gathering: September 16 & 17, 2017
This summer's Gathering was shorter than usual because many of us had travelled to Chicago for the triennial WILPF Congress in August and we weren’t sure that there was energy for a second WILPF event in one summer.
But as Wing Farm was holding a special event open to the public on September 16, we decided to combine a smaller than usual Gathering with the 40th Anniversary Land Trust Tour https://www.vlt.org/40events/
On Saturday some 20-25 people from Rochester and beyond stopped by to see our barns and the post Hurricane Irene erosion remediation project on our property, spearheaded by Greg Russ of the White River Partnership, that had been implemented on the West branch of the White River that summer. (Pine trees, with roots intact, but shorn of their branches, were inserted along the river bank to control future flooding.)
We also engaged visitors with stories of settler Ebenezer Sparhawk who built the first house on the land in 1790 and left a journal describing the tasks of homesteading.
Photo: Joe Schenkman, historian (on left) talking with Greg Russ of the White River Partnership.
We were delighted to welcome Val Moghadam, a member of the Boston WILPF branch who is taking part in the Gathering for the first time and who spoke on the subject of her scholarship and passionate interest: Women’s Movements and the State of Global Feminism: History, Diversity, Strengths, Limitations.
She writes: "Much of my worldview has been shaped by my background as an Iran-born woman whose family was affected by the 1953 US-supported coup d’état against Premier Mossadegh, was part of the left-wing student movement abroad from 1975-80 that supported an M-L group, and experienced the Iranian revolution (initially enthusiastically) and subsequent Islamization (with much dismay)…"
Based on my political experience, it seems to me that WILPF (especially WILPF-US) is excessively decentralized and lacks coordination across sections. There seems to be lack of coordination across U.S. branches, lack of coordination and information exchange between the U.S. and Geneva secretariat, and between WILPF-US and the New York office. Nor is it clear what the duties / responsibilities are of various officers, whether in the national office, NY, or Geneva. Finally, it seems to me that the decentralized structure and lack of coordination of WILPF-US dilutes its core mission and message, makes its activities too diffuse and submerged with the activities of others, and contributes to its lack of visibility. A more centralized structure within WILPF-U.S. could strengthen its message and mission and enhance its visibility. It also may be time to consider professionalization: raising dues in order to offer even a low salary to some of the key officers, and maintaining a physical space (whether permanent or rotating with each president).
Saturday, September 16
3:00 - 5:00 pm Wing Farm, 222 Wing Farm Road
Rochester, VT 05767
Visit the 230-acre Wing Farm, conserved by four siblings in 2003. Learn about the settlement of the land, visit the historic barns, and see the reclaimed area on the West Branch of the White River.
6:00 pm Dinner
Sunday, September 17
10:30 am Val Moghadam, a member of the Boston WILPF branch will speak on the subject of her scholarship and passionate interest:
Women’s Movements and the State of Global Feminism: History, Diversity, Strengths, Limitations.
"I can speak on where women's movements/feminist movements stand today, across the globe and in various countries, from my own research as well as the broader scholarship; achievements thus far; and the limitations and challenges we face. “