Pursuing Peace: Working For and Against the U.S. Government

Main Library

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The Peace Advocacy Coalition, a group of independent peace activists from various educational institutions and activist groups based along the Wasatch Front, presents guest lecturer Ann Wright. On March 13, 2003, Wright resigned from the State Department in protest against the pending U.S. invasion of Iraq and the curtailment of civil liberties within the United States. Since then she has been an indefatigable campaigner for peace and justice around the world, protesting against drone warfare, oppression, and continued development of nuclear weapons. Wright's talk at The City Library is entitled "Working for Justice for the Palestinians".

Ann Wright served in the U.S. Army for 29 years, retiring as a Colonel, then worked for 16 years for the U.S. State Department. As a diplomatic official, Wright worked in a number of countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, including Afghanistan and Somalia. She was given the State Department’s “Award for Heroism” in 1997 for her work in Sierra Leone during the civil war there.

She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Wright submitted her resignation letter to then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on March 19, 2003, the day before the onset of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. In her resignation letter, Wright listed four reasons she could no longer work for the U.S. government under the Bush administration: 1) The decision to invade Iraq without the blessing of the U.N. Security Council, 2) The “lack of effort” in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, 3) The “lack of policy” in regard to North Korea, and 4) The curtailment of civil liberties within the United States.

For 13 years Wright was an active duty soldier. She spent another 16 years in the Army Reserve, retiring as a Colonel. Part of her Army work was special operations in civil affairs. In the event of invasions into other countries, Wright helped to develop “plans about how you interact with the civilian population, how you protect the facilities—sewage, water, electrical grids, libraries…It’s our obligation under the law of land warfare.” After Wright was released from active duty, she joined the State Department. For the next 16 years, she served as a foreign diplomat in countries such as Nicaragua, Somalia, Uzbekistan, and Sierra Leone. She was on the team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December, 2001, after the fall of the Taliban to US forces.

This event is sponsored by the Peace Advocacy Coalition, the Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (UCAN), the Barbara L. and Norman C. Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights, Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land, and the Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice. The Peace Advocacy Coalition is a group of independent peace activists from various educational institutions and activist groups based along the Wasatch Front in Utah. In order to promote awareness, knowledge, and discussion, the Peace Advocacy Coalition hosts an interesting repertory of guest lecturers each year on the subject of peace. In 2014, the Peace Advocacy Coalition will be hosting guest lectures focused on the theme of “Healing 9/11".

Location: Main Library Auditorium

Contact Information: 801-524-8200