Ray Acheson

Ray Acheson at a press conference for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) at the United Nations, after ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize

Banning the Bomb: Feminism, Global Activism and International Diplomacy

2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate: Ray Acheson
May 4, 2018, 4:30 PM
PNE Atrium
Free and open to the public

Presented by the Peace and Justice Studies Program

In 2017, the majority of the world’s countries adopted a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, without any of the nuclear-armed states. This revolution in international relations was inspired and supported by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. This talk will explore the story of the nuclear ban, essentially a story of public diplomacy and transnational cooperation. It will also reflect on the coalition’s next steps, in order to move closer to a world without nuclear weapons. FInally, it will highlight the gendered dimensions of both nuclear weapons and the arguments around them.

Ray Acheson is the Director of Reaching Critical Will (RCW), the disarmament program at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)—the world’s longest-acting international women’s peace organization. She represents WILPF on the International Steering Group of ICAN, where she developed the strategy and advocacy for the nuclear ban treaty. As member of ICAN she lobbied governments to adopt the ban and participated in the treaty negotiations. Ray belongs to the feminist peace advocacy tradition, a tradition importantly pioneered by, among others, Emily Greene Balch professor of sociology and economics at Wellesley in the early 1900s and one of the founders of WILPF. It is, therefore, both an honor and a responsibility toward our history as a women’s college to host this young Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the intellectual and activist heir of one of our most distinguished faculty members.

Co-sponsored by CLCE Wilson Lecture Fund, Office of Religious Life, Philosphy Department, Women's and Gender Studies Department, Political Science Department, and Middle Eastern Studies Program. 

Image Credit:

Kevin Hagen