The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

The Reykjavik Summit Meeting

“In Reykjavick in October 1986, a candlelight prayer vigil was held in the town square. It was bitter cold; little children were bundled up, sitting on the shoulders of their fathers. The scene was infused with great solemnity and hope. For the next two days, several of us stood outside the meeting house … [T]he sky would change in a few minutes from dark clouds to rainbows, and then to sleet and snow.”
-Sissy Farenthold, in her speech “Women’s Search for Peace"

Farenthold (second to left) and Vaughan (middle) with the WMS coalition at the Reykjavik Summit. Photographer unknown.

The second summit meeting between President Reagan and President Gorbachev was held in 1986 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Historians now consider it as more productive than the Geneva Summit. While the leaders did not reach any formal agreements in Reykjavik, they both came closer to an agreement on the elimination of short-range missiles, which eventually led to their signing of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (Wittner, 2003).

As with the Geneva Summit, peace activists were in full force at the Reykjavik Summit, holding meetings and protests. Sissy Farenthold and Genevieve Vaughan went as part of the Women for a Meaningful Summit delegation.

Farenthold collected these documents during her trip to Reykjavik:

Women for a Meaningful Summit Iceland Delegation Biographies, c. October 1986 International Peace Movement Flier, c. October 1986

More information on these documents

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