Vesna Pesic


Vesna Pešić born Grocka, Serbia, Yugoslavia May 6, 1940. Serbian human rights activist and antiwar leader. Arrested for human rights protest, 1982. Founded Yugoslav Helsinki Committee, 1985; Yugoslav European Movement, 1991; Centre for Antiwar Action (CAWA), promoting nonviolence and negotiation, 1991. Received Sakharov Award, 1997.


It was the war which made some women aware of the need to stand up and voice their dissent. It was the war which made them organize themselves, learn to communicate between themselves, establish contacts with women's groups abroad, embrace the strategies for non-violent demonstrations against nationalism, militarism, repression, violence and abuse of human and, specifically, women's rights. It is only fair to say that the women played the leading role in practically all actions for peace, starting with the formation of the Center for Anti-War Action in Belgrade in 1991.” (Vienna, July 10, 1997, Gifts of Speech; photo