Biographical Sketch of Dr. Joseph Gerson


Dr. Joseph Gerson at a World Conference
against A- and H- Bombs in Hiroshima, Japan


Dr. Joseph Gerson has served the American Friends Service committee since 1976 and is currently Director of Programs and Director of the Peace and Economic Security Program for the AFSC in New England. He supervises AFSC programs in five states that work on a broad range of peace, social and economic justice issues, and he is actively involved in national AFSC working groups. He focuses on challenging U.S. foreign, military and domestic doctrines designed to reinforce global hegemony and to replace them with commitments to common security. His program work focuses on preparations for and threats to initiate nuclear war, Washington’s global infrastructure of military bases and installations, and its military domination of the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

He has been involved in the U.S. justice and peace movements since the mid-1960s, when he became active on the margins of the Civil Rights Movement. As a Vietnam-era draft resister, he was Director of Arizonans for Peace and Field Representative for Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam. Following the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, he joined the staff of the War Resisters' International in London and Brussels, where he was privileged to work with extraordinary people who had resisted World War I, Nazi rule and occupations, leading figures from across the Middle East working for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian and other regional conflicts, and with people who later launched the European nuclear disarmament movement of the 1980s. While in Europe, he served on the board of the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace.

His work with AFSC has included helping to launch the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980s, preventing New England harbors from being transformed into nuclear weapons bases, helping to build the U.S. and global anti-bases and nuclear weapons abolition movements, and helping to create peace and anti-war coalitions in the Boston area, across New England, and to lesser extents nationally and internationally.

His recent work has focused on education, organizing and mobilization to end the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq, preventing nuclear war and advancing the struggle for nuclear weapons abolition, establishing the global "No Bases Network" and integrating U.S. anti-bases networks, and peaceful resolution of the U.S.-Iran confrontation. His book Empire and the Bomb: How the United States Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World was published by Pluto Books and the University of Michigan Press in April, 2007. This past spring he led a U.S. peace movement delegation to China, and he is currently in the midst of organizing two major peace movement conferences: a national no-bases conference at American University in Washington, D.C. (Feb. 28/March 1) and the New England-wide Peace Movement Priorities conference scheduled for Tufts University March 27 & 28.

Building on three decades of collaboration with Asian and European peace movement, since Sept. 11, 2001, he has played a unique role in linking these movements to resist the Bush Administration's global military crusade and its efforts to impose "the arrangement for the 21st century." In addition to working with Asian and European peace and justice movements, he participated in the launch conferences of the Asia Peace Assembly, the European Network for Peace and Human Rights, and the No Bases Network, and he remains actively deeply engaged with each. He has also played the lead role in organizing three New England Wide post-9-11 peace and justice organizing conferences

Over the past year has given keynote talks at the World Conference against A- and H- Bombs in Hiroshima, at the No Bases Conference in Quito, Ecuador, lectured in Korea and Japan and given numerous talks across the United States.. In the same period, he has published articles analyzing the U.S. Congressional election, U.S. nuclear weapons and war policies, alternatives to the U.S. war in Iraq and threats against Iran, U.S. efforts to create permanent military bases in Iraq, and the global infrastructure of U.S. military bases. His work with AFSC, Peace Action and the N.H. Council of Churches contributed to Senator Obama committing to negotiate the complement elimination of nuclear weapons if elected and to Senator Clinton’s commitment to sharply reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal

In 2004, he was a leading organizer of the Boston Social Forum and, in conjunction with the European Network for Peace and Human Rights, organized an international peace conference - "A World Working Together For Peace" - within the Boston Social Forum. He was also involved in organizing or supporting peace demonstrations during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. He helped to build popular pressure on the U.S. and other nuclear powers during the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference approaches in Spring. 2005.

In association with Focus on Global South, he has worked to help launch the "No U.S. Bases" network, a network that includes more than 100 organizations in more than 40 countries, and he has worked closely with anti-bases activists and scholars in the United States and globally.

His previous books include The Sun Never Sets…Confronting the Network of Foreign U.S. Military Bases and With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion, and Moral Imagination.. His work with A & H Bomb survivors, including Korean A-bomb survivors, has included organizing many speaking tours in the U.S., and co-organizing "Global Hibakusha" and delegations to the Vancouver World Peace Forum, the Hague Peace Appeal, and the United National NGO Millennium conference.

Joseph Gerson has spoken at numerous international conferences, lectured at more than 70 U.S. colleges and universities, and spoken to and worked with countless community-based peace and justice organizations. He is a Vietnam era draft resister who received his under graduate degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1968 and his PhD in Politics and International Security Studies from the Union Institute and College in 1995.

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