Un-Gala in Celebration of Anne Barstow and Tom Driver

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship held an un-Gala in celebration of

Anne Barstow and Tom Driver 

Inaugural Recipients of the
Anne Barstow and Tom Driver Award for Excellence in Nonviolent Direct Action in Retirement 

On the occassion of the ten-year anniversary of the Colombia Accompaniment Program 

Saturday October 18, 2014

6:00 PM Wine and Cheese Reception
6:30 PM  Dinner and Program

The Stony Point Center
17 Crickettown Road Stony Point, NY

Keynote Speaker:
Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author

Special Guest:
Germán Zárate-Durier, Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia

 Donate to PPF

 

Anne Barstow and Tom Driver became committed to peace and justice in Latin America in the 1980s. Upon retirement in the early 1990s, they became almost full time activists. At first they volunteered with Witness for Peace (WFP), an ecumenical organization committed to nonviolent accompaniment of Latin Americans suffering from injustices of U. S. policies. Anne and Tom joined or led many delegations to Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Haiti, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Colombia. Anne was an observer for WFP at crucial elections in El Salvador and Nicaragua. She took early retirement from teaching at SUNY in order to serve two terms as Chairperson of the WFP National Board.. Tom’s retirement from teaching at Union Seminary in New York coincided with a crisis in Haiti brought on by violent attacks on the burgeoning democracy movement there. In response he organized and chaired a WFP Task Force on Haiti, led many delegations there, and served on the Steering Committee of the WFP MidAtlantic Region.

The couple's work these days is done mostly through the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF). On its behalf, Tom edited a special issue of the journal Church and Society (Nov.-Dec., 2005) called Re-Thinking War, Re-Thinking Peace, and Making Peace, to which Anne contributed the article, "Preparing to Resist the Next War: A Summons to the Church." Anne is the founder of the Colombia Accompaniment Program, in which volunteers spend at least a month in violence-ridden Colombia. Ranging in age from 23 to 73, the volunteers lend presence and encouragement to Presbyterian church leaders there who are under threat of assassination, arbitrary arrest, or disappearance because of their advocacy of justice for Colombia's 4 million displaced persons. Together, Tom and Anne have made two documentary films: Colombia: The Next Vietnam? (2001) and Colombians Speak out About Violence and U.S. Policy (2003). Both widely distributed, the latter was shown in the 2004 Mountaintop Human Rights Film Festival in Vermont.

Anne has been arrested 4 times for acts of civil disobedience: protesting against nuclear arms, covert actions of the CIA, and the notorious School of the Americas at Fort Benning. Tom's similar acts on different occasions have led to one arrest. Tom and Anne received the Andrew Mellon Award from the Witherspoon Society in 2006, for accompanying the people of Nicaragua, Haiti, and Colombia. Anne, with Milton Mejia, received the 2006 PPF Peaceseeker Award for creating the Colombia Accompaniment Program. Tom and Anne are both experienced preachers and educators who bring a wealth of knowledge and insight to their presentations.

 

Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign correspondent. He reported on conflicts in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. For fifteen of those years he worked for The New York Times as the Middle East Bureau Chief and the Balkan Bureau Chief during the war in Bosnia. He reported on Al Qaeda while based in Paris. He and a team of reporters were awarded the Pulitizer Prize in 2002 for their coverage of global terrorism. Hedges left the paper after being issued a written reprimand by the editors for publicly denouncing the call by the Bush administration to invade Iraq. His first book, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, was a finalist for the National Book Critic's Circle Award. It explored what war does to individuals and societies, drawing on his experience in numerous conflicts. Hedges has since gone on to write twelve more books, including the New York Times best sellers American Fascists and his latest book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he did with the graphic artist Joe Sacco.

He has a B.A. in English Literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity from Harvard University. He also spent a year at Harvard studying classics as a Nieman Fellow. He has taught at Columbia University, Princeton University, New York University and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches English Literature to prisoners in New Jersey and helped his class last fall write a play about their experiences in prison that will be produced in New York in the fall of 2015.