Peace Cultures, Women's Leadership

Remembering Betty Reardon (1929 - 2023)

Bettey Reardon leading seminar

Betty Reardon leading discussion at the Center's 2018 nuclear abolition seminar for Boston-area university students

We were saddened to learn that peace education pioneer and feminist peace scholar Betty Reardon passed away, on November 3, 2023. We were honored to have worked with Dr. Reardon on several projects over the years, and are grateful for all that we learned from her. Her professional achievements were many, and are outlined in this fine obituary from the Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE) website. Just a few of the highlights include: her first position in the field, in 1963, as Director of the Schools Program with the Institute of World Order; founder and long-time director of the Peace Education Center and Program at Teachers College, Columbia University; founder and director of the International Institute on Peace Education; and General Coordinator of the Feminist Scholar Activist Network on Demilitarization. Please see the GCPE obituary for more detail, including a guide to her publications.

The GCPE tribute describes her motivations with this eloquent summation:

What intrigued and drove her was an interest in war, not as an isolated eruption in human affairs, but as a social system justified by particular ways of thinking. She had a hunch that not only the structures of society, but the structures of consciousness as well, could, and should be, transformed through a comprehensive education for and about peace. Betty Reardon’s life-long endeavor has been informed and shaped by this perspective and these formative experiences.

Here are some links that will help you learn more about some of Betty’s diverse involvement with us. Throughout, she evidenced a propensity for incisive thought, much kindness and consideration, an excellent sense of humor, and not least, a natural humility that enabled her to work effectively with young people as an equal collaborator.

  • The Power of Alternative Thinking: An Essay
  • Reports from the nuclear weapons abolition seminars for university students, co-facilitated with Zeena Zakharia: Read about Session One and Session Two. You can also read about the public event during which students reported on their findings from the seminar series.
  • Six-part video interview with Dr. Reardon on topics such as the relationship between human dignity, human rights and peace; challenging the patriarchal paradigm; and the origins and significance of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.