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Peace activist Kathy Kelly will talk about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen on Monday, Nov. 13, at St. Bonaventure University.
Free and open to the public, the talk begins at 7 p.m. in the Dresser Auditorium of the Murphy Professional Building. Kelly’s talk also serves as a plenary for students.
“Nearly three years of Saudi bombings have left millions of Yemeni citizens destitute and starving, and yet most Americans know nothing about this,” said Dr. Christopher Stanley, theology professor at St. Bonaventure.
A New York Times story in August detailed the unimaginable hardship the country is facing:
Repeated bombings have crippled bridges, hospitals and factories. Many doctors and civil servants have gone unpaid for more than a year. Malnutrition and poor sanitation have made the Middle Eastern country vulnerable to diseases that most of the world has confined to the history books. In just three months, cholera has killed nearly 2,000 people and infected more than a half million, one of the world’s largest outbreaks in the past 50 years.
The talk is sponsored by SBU’s Visiting Scholars Committee, Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Center for Nonviolence, Franciscan Center for Social Concern, College Democrats, Women’s Studies, and Citizens Action Network of Southwestern New York.
Kathy Kelly, who has twice before spoken at SBU, is the founding director of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, an organization that was formed in 2005 to promote nonviolent resistance to American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This group continued and extended the work of a prior group called Voices in the Wilderness that worked from 1996-2005 to call attention to and counter the negative effects of American sanctions on the people of Iraq during that era.
Through this group, Kelly organized more than 70 delegations to deliver food and medicine directly to Iraqi citizens.
VCN’s activities include sending delegations to Afghanistan to listen and learn from nonviolent grassroots movements; traveling to Jordan and Iraq to provide support for Iraqi refugees; protesting and educating the American public about the effects of military drones on ordinary citizens in Pakistan and other countries; traveling to Gaza, Bahrain, and other parts of the world to educate and train people in nonviolent modes of resistance; and many similar peace-making activities both at home and abroad.
Kelly has led 27 delegations to Iraq and spent several months living in combat zones in Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon, where she wrote about the effects of U.S. and Israeli military bombardments in an effort to educate the public and promote peace in these areas. Most recently, she has been working to build resistance to U.S. collaboration with a Saudi-led coalition that has subjected Yemen to airstrikes and blockades.
Kelly’s peace work has brought her more than 40 honors, including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and two honorary degrees, and frequent invitations to deliver talks at universities, seminaries, churches, festivals, and activist gatherings in the U.S. and around the world.
Born and raised in Chicago, Kelly attended a Catholic high school and obtained her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University. She earned her master’s in religious education from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Kelly’s work is deeply rooted in the Catholic social justice tradition. She has reported on her activities and shared her insights in numerous articles for peace and religious journals and for websites such as Counter Punch and Common Dreams.
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