Looking Towards the Future: A Note from Vivian Stromberg
Posted on: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I’m writing to you from Nicaragua, where I just had a long conversation with Mirna Cunningham, my dear friend and MADRE’s first-ever partner from 1983. We made plans for MADRE to send another shipment of medicines and school supplies to Indigenous women’s organizations in Nicaragua and Mirna told me how much it means to her that this partnership between MADRE and the women in her community is still going strong after all these years.
Our talk made me remember the very beginning of my friendship with Mirna, which was also the beginning of MADRE. In the summer of 1983, as a long-time peace and justice activist, I joined a group of US women invited by Mirna and other Nicaraguan women to see for ourselves the devastation caused by the US government’s undeclared war on their country.
We were deeply moved by what we saw and heard on that visit. Most of all, we were moved by the women of Nicaragua; women who wielded joy as a weapon against despair and knew the power of joining hands to create change. After the visit, we set out to build an organization that would respond to the needs of women and families threatened by US policy and give people in the US concrete ways to build alternatives to unjust policies. We were inspired by the Mothers’ Committees of Nicaragua — women whose children had been killed by the Contras or during the fight to overthrow the right-wing Somoza regime. And so we named the organization MADRE.
Our commitment ran deep, but we never dreamed when we founded MADRE that we were laying the foundation for an international women’s human rights organization that would last for decades and grow to encompass a network of women activists, advocates, educators and community leaders in more than a dozen countries. I had no idea then that being among MADRE’s founders would be one of my proudest accomplishments. In 1991, I became MADRE’s Executive Director. Since then, we’ve expanded our programs to the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We’ve advanced the fight for women’s human rights at the United Nations and we’ve produced educational material that’s helped shift the conversation about social justice and women’s rights—in the US and globally.
My recent talk with Mirna gave me a chance to reflect not only on my past work with MADRE, but also on my future. Over the years, I’ve played many roles at MADRE. Now, at age 69, I am ready to move from being MADRE’s Executive Director to being its Senior Advisor. I know that you share my commitment to this work, so I wanted to tell you myself about this transition. Although I will stay deeply involved with MADRE, this transition will give me the time I have longed for to be with my family and most especially, my grandchildren.
I’m pleased that we’ve begun this transition at a time when MADRE has both deep roots and vibrant branches in many communities around the world. MADRE’s vitality is truly a testimony to your commitment. We are fortunate to have a strong Board and a dedicated staff, but it’s your support that gives us the means to create and grow our programs on behalf of women around the world. Unlike most international organizations, 70 percent of our budget comes from members like you. Your support has enabled us to guarantee that our programs have continuity and depth and, of course, to see us through tough times. It’s your support and participation that makes MADRE such a strong international family.
As we begin the process of identifying and welcoming new leadership, I hope I can count on your continued support. Since I know you care deeply about MADRE’s work, I’d like to ask for your help in our search for a new Executive Director. Please share this message with qualified people you know, and help us circulate it online. And, as always, thank you for your support.
In peace and justice,
Archives"Press Room" Home May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
Kaitlyn Soligan, Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
MADRE Makes News
Stoking Fire: Addressing the Specific Needs of Female Syrian Refugees (RH Reality Check, May 17, 2013)
An Open Letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala (Common Dreams, May 15, 2013)
Mothers Fight Back (RH Reality Check, May 9, 2013)
How Not to End the War in Syria (Common Dreams, May 9, 2013)
Conditions in Jordan Syrian refugee camp are worse for women (Women's News Network, April 19, 2013)