News item | 05-06-2015
On the occasion of the joint centenary of both the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and ANZAC day, New Zealand and Australian women have donated an olive tree to the Peace Palace. The tree was presented to the Peace Palace in a short ceremony attended by the New Zealand ambassador, H.E. Janet Lowe and the Australian ambassador, H.E. Neil Mules, with an introduction by Mr Steven Hoogstraten, director of the Carnegie Foundation.
One hundred years ago, April 1915, 1300 women gathered in the Hague in an effort to stop war and began WILPF and the ‘Kiwis’ and ‘Aussies’ landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey as part of Churchill’s strategy for WW1, with tragic consequences. One hundred years later women are still trying to build a just and sustainable peace, as inglorious wars continue, and recently 900 women again gathered in the Hague to call for peace.
The symbolic olive tree is not only to remember those who have suffered from war, but the effort to build peaceful pathways and avoid conflict in the future.
On Anzac day both countries remember those who served and died in all wars and has relevance for both country’s sense of national identity. Anzac day is commemorated every year in both Australia and New Zealand, but for many goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli.