The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Women for a Meaningful Summit International Assembly in Athens, Greece

"In the fall of 1985, an ad hoc group of women from various U.S. women's organizations organized Women for a Meaningful Summit. It has grown since then and now has two elements - WMS USA and WMS International. WMS International is headed by Margarita Papandreou, wife of the Greek premier, and Sarah Hayder, the former president of the American Association of University Women. It has broadened its agenda to make contact with women from the Eastern bloc and NATO nations."
-Sissy Farenthold, in her speech "Women's Search for Peace"

Farenthold at the WMS conference in Athens in 1986. Photographer unknown.

After the second Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Iceland, Margarita Papandreou, wife of the Greek Prime Minister, organized an international conference for Women for a Meaningful Summit in Athens in 1986.

Although WMS started primarily as an American organization, this conference brought together influential women from other countries, including those from the Third World. They aimed to make a unified, international female voice for peace at future summit meetings.

They also emphasized the link between peace and women’s development. As Papandreou said in her opening remarks to the Assembly, "I believe [this conference] is also historical because of the coming together of women from the women’s movement and women from the peace movement; women from the super-powers, from the nuclear powers, from the countries of the Five-Continent Peace Initiative, and from the Third World. What is clear is that one cannot isolate the issues of equality, development and peace."

Sissy Farenthold and Genevieve Vaughan attended the WMS Greece Conference in November 1986. A major outcome of the conference was the creation of working group reports outlining different aspects of the women’s peace movement. Below is one of those working group reports and a selection of other documents from the conference, including Papandreou’s opening remarks.

"Women for Nuclear Disarmament," Opening Remarks, November 1986
WMS Athends Conference Agenda, November 1986
"The Linkage Between Women, Development, and Disarmament," Report, November 1986

More information on these documents

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