Nonviolence in Action: speaker profiles


Session 1: 100 years of resisting war and its causes

Wolfgang Hertle

Since his conscientious objection to military service in 1966, Wolfgang's main preoccupation has been nonviolent action. In 1972 he helped launch Graswurzelrevolution, a German magazine for nonviolent action movements. In 1979 he initiated the Kurve Wustrow, a resource center for nonviolence, to support the resistance against the national nuclear waste disposal at Gorleben.

Wolfgang's thesis in Political science analysed the struggle of 103 families on the Southern French Larzac plateau, against the expulsion from their farms to make way for an expanded military base. After ten years this conflict ended, when president Mitterand renounced the extension of the military camp in 1981. This session will discuss the essential factors for the success of this nonviolent resistance and its inspiring worldwide today.

A picture of Wolfgang Hertle

Roberta Bacic

Roberta Bacic, Chilean resident in Northern Ireland, was staff member at WRI London office from 1998 to 2004.

She got to know WRI and WRL in Chile at the time of the Chilean Dictatorship - 1973 to 1989.  Delegations came to support the nonviolent struggle that was going on to denounce human rights violations and also at times to act as observers to the plebiscite that ousted General Pinochet.

She was part of Movement Against Torture Sebastián Acevedo, volunteered in activities closely related to the relatives of the disappeared and engaged in nonviolent training via SERPAJ (Servicio de Paz y Justicia).

While at the office, alongside her regular job, she was closely involved in the coordination of 2 TRIENNIALS, one in Croatia and one in Ireland, she produced several articles and one exhibition. At present Roberta is Conflict Textiles curator and as a gift to mark the centenary she produced the exhibition Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century

A picture of Roberta Bacic

Joanne Sheehan

Joanne Sheehan, an organizer and nonviolence trainer, has been active with War Resisters League since the early 1970’s and joined the WRI Council in the early 1980’s. She was WRI Chair 1998 - 2006. She is presently active with the WRI Nonviolence Committee working on a handbook on constructive programs.

Joanne worked on the proposal for the first WRI Women’s Gathering which was passed at the 1975 WRI Triennial. A feminist, she was a long time member of the WRI Women’s Working Group, and will speak to why that was needed and its influences on the last 50 years of WRI.

A photo of Joanne Sheehan

Igor Seke



Session 2: Resisting militarism today

Ray Acheson

Ray Acheson (they/them) leads the disarmament programme at the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and serves on the steering groups of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, and the International Network on Explosive Weapons. Their book Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy offers a first-hand account about the work of activists and diplomats to outlaw nuclear weapons and challenge the nuclear orthodoxy. During the WRI conference, Ray will speak about the transnational organising for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which combined grassroots activism with global diplomacy at the UN.

A picture of Ray Acheson

Rosa Moiwend

Rosa Moiwend is a West Papuan human rights activist, a member of War Resisters International and currently living in West Papua. She is working on the issue of human rights in West Papua. Rosa is also an educator for nonviolent resistance and believes in nonviolence as a way to make change with the power of the people. She is also a member of the Youngsolwara Pacific Movement and a co-founder of the Make West Papua Campaign.

A photo of Rosa Moiwend

Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman

Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman is a Research Coordinator at Campaign Against Arms Trade, where he conducts research on UK arms exports and their impact around the world, as well as on the global arms trade more generally. He previously worked at the World Peace Foundation, for their project on Global Arms Business and Corruption, Before that he was a Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), from 2007 to 2016, working on issues of military expenditure, arms industry and arms trade.

Some of Dr. Perlo-Freeman’s recent work has focused on arms exports to conflict zones, UK military spending and the climate crisis, the political economy of the global arms industry and trade, and corruption in the arms trade.

A photo of Sam Perlo-Freeman


Session 3: sustaining our resistance

Dr. Stellan Vinthagen

Dr. Stellan Vinthagen is Professor of Sociology, and the Inaugural Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has since 1980 been an educator, organizer and activist, participating in numerous nonviolent civil disobedience actions, for which he has served a total of more than one year in prison. He was a member of the WRI Council between 2006-2019. One of his books is A Theory of Nonviolent Action - How Civil Resistance Works (2015).

A photo of Stellan

Sarah Reader and Carrie Hou

Weaving their experience in anti-militarist, racial justice, environmental and social justice movements, Carrie and Sarah will talk about the need to connect struggles - and to tackle the root causes of militarism and its consequences. They will explore why we need a systemic, intersectional and internationalist analysis of militarism and why we need strategic decentralised campaigning to build power. They will also expose how “security” is militarised in the EU and whose interests are defended by it. They share more about the Abolish Frontex campaign as an example of a radical, decentralised campaign.

A photo of Sarah Reader

Andrea Ixchíu