By Donald Gilpin
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman will be honored and international relations expert Trita Parsi will deliver the keynote address at the Coalition for Peace Action’s (CFPA) Hybrid Annual Membership Program on Sunday, June 4, from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. at Christ Congregation, 50 Walnut Lane in Princeton.
CFPA Executive Director the Rev. Robert Moore described Watson Coleman as “a staunch supporter of CFPA’s peacemaking agenda since she first took office and voted in support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.” He praised “her strong peace leadership.”
In a May 22 email Watson Coleman stated, “I am grateful for the dedication of Reverend Bob Moore, who has led the Coalition for Peace Action for over four decades — and the critical issues that CFPA has taken on in that time, including gun control, voter engagement, and the reduction of nuclear weapons. I am proud to have in my district such a committed organization that shares my passion for justice and equity in our communities, and look forward to continuing the work to build a more peaceful world.”
Watson Coleman recently co-signed a congressional letter to President Biden urging support for sustained diplomacy to permanently end the war in Yemen, and she co-sponsored H. Res. 77 in support of the United Nation’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Parsi, currently executive vice president of the Quincy Institute and previously co-founder and director of the National Iranian American Council, was a key figure in educating the public about Iran’s nuclear situation and an influential force in mobilizing the Iranian American community to collaborate with the larger United States peace movement in working out the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
“Can America Become a Peacemaker Again?” will be the topic of Parsi’s June 4 keynote address. In a March op-ed in The New York Times titled “The U.S. Is Not an Indispensable Peacemaker,” Parsi argued that “America appears to have given up on the virtues of honest peacemaking” in favor of a more militarized foreign policy.
He went on to emphasize that the United States, instead of taking sides and seeking to dominate, should support peace efforts around the world. “The greatest threat to our own security and reputation is if we stand in the way of a world where others have a stake in peace, if we become a nation that doesn’t just put diplomacy last but also dismisses those who seek to put diplomacy first,” he wrote.
An award-winning author, Parsi has written three books on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with a focus on Iran and Israel. His most recent book, Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy (2017), explores the behind-the-scenes story of the Iran nuclear agreement.
Moore praised Parsi’s work in support of the Iran nuclear agreement (“which unfortunately Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018”) and noted that Parsi continues to play a leadership role in “moving us closer to a world that believes in diplomacy, not war.” Moore described Parsi as “a leading light of our peacemaking efforts.”
Deadline for the required registration for the CFPA members-only event is noon on Friday, June 2. The program, from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m., is available to both in-person and Zoom attendees. A Sponsor Reception with Parsi from 1 to 1:30 p.m., for $100 per person, will precede the main event.
Visit peacecoalition.org for registration and further information on CFPA membership and the June 4 program.