CURRICULUM VITAE - THERESA WOLFWOOD
|Theresa Wolfwood and Gerd Weih in Bil'in, Palestine 2010.|
After attending the UN NGO Women’s Forum in Beijing in 1995, Theresa Wolfwood was inspired to form a new organization dedicated to those issues that most deeply concerned her and a group of friends. In 1996 they founded the Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation (BBCF) which organizes, works for and supports action, education and creativity for peace, social justice, human rights, and women’s rights. She has been the director of BBCF since its formation.
Educated in geology and geography at the University of British Columbia, Theresa has worked as a geologist in Canada, USA, Ethiopia and Eritrea for governments, learning institutions and private employers. She has been a private researcher, writer and editor of scientific and social issues and has also been employed as a naturalist and adult educator.
She is a founding member and coordinator of Victoria Women in Black. Locally she is active in solidarity and social justice movements. Internationally she is director of Transcend: Art for Peace (T:AP), and involved in NO Bases Network. Through the BBCF she has worked in partnership with Women in Struggle in Pakistan, Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, Maji Mazuri Centre in Nairobi, Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative in Narok, Kenya and the Buchanyu Farmers Association in Uganda.
Theresa has served on the national boards of the Canadian Council for International Development and the National Action Committee for the Status of Women and has held various executive positions with the Voice of Women and many peace, solidarity, and justice groups. She was active in the successful anti-MAI campaign in Canada and Europe. For eight years she served on the board of the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group, a progressive university-based organization.
She has been a volunteer community worker in Nicaragua, Dominica and Eritrea. She was part of a human rights delegation that went to Chiapas and Guatemala, and attended a workshop on Guatemala, in Mexico City with Rigoberta Menchu and other Guatemalans. In 2004 she visited a number of grassroots organizations in India and Pakistan in order to learn from these activist groups, to build stronger links between them and Canadian groups and to report on their work in Canada.
In the past two decades, Theresa has spoken at conferences, workshops, rallies, and meetings across Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America; at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, 2002; most recently, at the WSF, Mumbai, India, 2004, in Cologne, Germany at an international conference on Women, Privatization and the GATS, and in Innsbruck, Austria at an international conference on Water and Privatization, both in 2003.Her paper, Globalization & Militarization, was presented at the IPRA conference in Finland in 2000. She participated in and spoke at several events at the 1995 UN NGO Women´s Forum in Beijing. She produced a video on the forum and the WILPF peace train from Helsinki to Beijing: Weaving the World Together.
She spoke about the war, embargo and use of depleted uranium in Iraq at many gatherings in Europe and Canada from 2001 – 2004, after returning from a humanitarian delegation to Iraq in 2001 with USA lawyer, Ramsey Clark. In 1997 she was an international human rights observer in forest village in Chiapas, Mexico.
Theresa has, with BBCF support, organized many events including the Small World Social Forum in Victoria, 2002 and workshops and public meetings on Iraq, the World Social Forum, and many other concerns including globalization, women’s issues, peace and international solidarity, art and activism.
In 2005 she was an invited speaker at colleges, community groups and global education centres in England & Wales, including presenting, “Reclaiming the Commons” at the Reading RISC International Festival. In 2006 she traveled to El Salvador where she was an international election observer. In June, 2006, at the World Peace Forum in Vancouver, she spoke about the Nanoose Bay military base on a panel on Foreign Bases; she also organized and participated in workshops on Women in Black and Boycotts for Peace & Justice at the same forum.
In 2007, Theresa and Gerd Weih attended the World Social Forum in Nairobi. She participated in No Bases Network events and a Women in Black workshop. Later they visited many grass roots NGOs in Kenya and Uganda – see the report on this website. Returning to Canada Theresa gave public presentations on this journey and wrote about it in periodicals. In the fall of 2007, they were national election observers in Guatemala. Theresa continues to write on many issues for Canadian and international publications while continuing the work of BBCF. She participates in the local Victoria Food not Bombs group.
In 2008 following a severe illness, Theresa Wolfwood with Gerd Weih went to Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon at the invitation of the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN). In Jordan, where she attended and spoke at public and private meetings after visiting many social movements, schools, clinics in rural areas and in urban refugee camps. Theresa spoke at an APN Public meeting on “Building international solidarity for Palestine.” In Reading, England she spoke to an activist meeting on Palestine and continues in 2009 to speak, show power points, write and organize on behalf of Palestine in many locations in Canada. Her report on this journey was printed in The Whole Circle and is posted on bbcf.ca
In 2009 she was a Presidential Election observer in El Salvador and has written and spoken on that event since returning to Canada. She has been involved in resistance to Canadian mining companies in El Salvador. Throughout 2009 Theresa organized events on Palestine and other issues, including a meeting with Malalai Joya of Afghanistan. She wrote articles for various publications, edited and produced an issue of The Whole Circle” and organized a Human Right s Forum in December in Victoria. She raised funds for the work of Women in Struggle in Pakistan.
In 2010 Theresa works to support the Pan-Canada Bil’in network, speaking on radio and at meetings about the 5th anniversary of resistance to the wall in that community and raising support for the Bil’in court case against Canadian companies. She hosted Palestinian – American, Dr. Nada Elia, to speak on the BDS campaign; in November, Razan Zuayter of the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature visited BC and with Theresa participated in several events. Theresa has been active for four years in local anti-poverty actions, including in Food not Bombs. She also worked for Haitian Earthquake Relief and published articles on Canada’s involvement in the overthrow of democracy in that country; she continues to work locally in Latin American solidarity. In March she started fund raising for the victims of massive mudslides in Uganda. In 2010 Theresa returned to Jordan and Palestine to continue the solidarity work of BBCF. She participated in the Bil’in conference on non-violent resistance, as well as actions in Beit Jala and Wolega; she visited many organizations, schools and projects in Palestine and Jordan. She later spoke about the experience in Berlin and Victoria.
In 2010 Theresa was invited to participate in an international conference on Palestinian Political Prisoners in Algeria. She has written and spoken on this event, including at a forum on Political Prisoners in Victoria in 2011. She was a guest speaker at the Beit Zatoun Palestinian Cultural Centre in Toronto in May, 2011. She has been participating in organizing election observers in El Salvador for the 2012 elections there.
For 16 years Theresa has coordinated Victoria Women in Black, preparing a different leaflet for each silent vigil in Victoria. Women in Black gathers in silence to witness for peace & non-violence, locally and globally.
Many of Theresa’s essays and articles have been published in Briarpatch, Lower Island News, Canadian Dimension, Press for Conversion, Watershed Sentinel, Peace Magazine and Our Paper, among others in Canada; the UK in Peace News and Third World Resurgence in Malaysia. She is the editor of The Whole Circle, produced by BBCF. A selection of her writing may be read on BBCF’s website also: www.bbcf.ca
Passion for Print, a collection of book reviews by Theresa Wolfwood was published in 2009.Her essays have been included in the following books: Challenging Empires: World Social Forum, Eds. Jai Sen et al. 2004. Viveka Foundation, New Delhi, India (also published in German and Spanish); Feminist Perspectives: September 11, 2001. Eds. Susan Hawthorne & Bronwyn Winter. 2002. Spinifex Press, Australia. Reprinted as AFTER SHOCK: September 11, 2001/ Global Feminist Perspectives. 2003. Raincoast Books, Vancouver, BC; There is an Alternative: Subsistence and Worldwide Resistance to Corporate Globalization. Eds. Veronika Bennholdt–Thomson, Nicholas Faraclas and Claudia Von Werlhof. Zed Books Ltd. London, UK. 2001 which includes SEATTLE: A Convergence of Globalization & Militarization, based on her experience at the WTO resistance in Seattle, 1999.
In May, 2011, Humanist Perspectives, published in Ottawa, featured Theresa’s poetry. Poems by Theresa have been published in Canada and Europe and in the anthologies, Gadrian II and Living Rights. In 2000 her collection: PORPHYRY was published in Victoria. Some of her poems with social justice themes are on BBCF’s website. In 2007 one of her Iraq poems was included in an anthology: From the Web – A Global Anthology of Women’s Political Poetry. She recorded poetry on an “Artists for Peace” CD, produced in Denmark for which she also designed the cover illustration, a collage of her banners. Her poem, Saturday Afternoon in March was translated into Danish and published in Denmark in Arbejderen, March, 2008. Believe in an Ongoing Universe, her latest poetry collection was published in 2009.
Art and Photography
In 1996, BBCF invited Thalia Campbell of Wales, an artist and founder of the Greenham Common Women’s Camp, whom Theresa met on the Peace Train to Beijing in 1995 to give a workshop on banner making in Victoria. Since then Theresa has made over 20 banners and given workshops for other groups so they can learn this skill. Theresa’s banners have been exhibited in Canada, Finland, Germany, Austria, Brazil and India. Some may be seen in her gallery on T:AP network’s website: www.tapnet.info and others appear on BBCF website.
Many of Theresa’s photographs accompany her printed articles, are used on magazine covers and form the basis of slide and video productions. Many are distributed throughout www.islandnet.com/~bbcf and help express social concerns. Her photos also have been on exhibit in several countries; a selection can be found on her T: AP network gallery.
Theresa was also involved in two musical comedies produced in Victoria; one on the MAI, MAI in OZ, and the other on GMO, Splice of Life. Both were original productions by Stacy Chappel and were well-attended and popular vehicles for the distribution of serious information and analysis through art.
Her interests in social issues are broad and varied; throughout all her works she emphasizes action, positive resistance, empowerment and the building of a new and better world for all life on earth. Theresa says,” The life of an activist in a community of supportive friends and colleagues gives one a rich, interesting and meaningful life. A commitment to social change brings knowledge and inspiration from many people and sources which constantly stimulate us to work more creatively.” Some of her favourite quotes are on her banners, “Knowing is not Enough, Act for Peace and Justice,” and “Resistance is the Secret of Joy” and “We Must be the Change we Want to see in the World.”
Although Theresa Wolfwood organizes, speaks and writes with clarity, insight, passion and commitment, one of her most appreciated contributions to social change is her personal support and inspiration for a worldwide network of friends and activists. She is particularly respectful and encouraging towards young people and those new to social activism. Her sense of optimism comes from her deep commitment to the power of people working together for peace and justice. She says that two other quotes inform her activism:
‘There is no life, except that in community’ from T.S. Eliot and ‘Action Creates Ideas’ from Hilary Wainwright