Empowering civic activism toward a culture of peace.

I am chair of a project which needs the support of people in selected states concerned with peace.  In April Alma College - with the help of the American Non-Governmental Organization Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC) and the Chicago Alliance for the ICC - is hosting in Chicago a retreat to help educate staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the value of the International Criminal Court (ICC).


For those unfamiliar with the ICC, it is a court based in The Hague established to try people who have committed 'war crimes,' or otherwise violated international humanitarian law.  The U.S. has not joined the court, which tends to weaken its effectiveness.  If working properly, the court would deter conflict and, at a minimum, protect civilians in war zones.


We need citizens in states with Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee to assist us with this retreat - both personally and by involving friends in this effort.  The Senators on the committee are CA-Boxer; CT-Dodd, DE-Kaufman, GA-Isakson, ID-Risch, IN-Lugar, MA-Kerry, MD-Cardin, MS-Wicker, NH-Shaheen, NJ-Menendez, NY-Gillibrand, OK-Inhofe, PA-Casey, SC-DeMint,  TN-Corker, VA-Webb, WI-Feingold, WY-Barrasso. 


Among the organizers of the conference, the advertised purpose would be to educate students and other citizens from the states with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the prospects and process for moving forward in support of the ICC.  The ultimate goal, however, would be that mentioned first: to educate Senate staff about the ICC and develop a plan for moving ahead on U.S. membership.  In planning the conference, we want to invite students, faculty and other citizens who understand the ICC and the benefits for the U.S. of effective participation in the court.  We would expect the Conference would facilitate development of a relationship between citizens with staff of the Foreign Relations Committee.  


To pursue our goal, we will hold the event at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, about 2 miles north of The Loop.  To allow frank discussions, the event will not be open to the general public or press.  The conference would begin on the evening of Thursday, April 8 and conclude on the afternoon of Friday, April 9. 


There are three ways in which you can help us:

1. Contact your Senator and request that a foreign policy staff person be sent to the conference,

2. Join us at the conference, so you can interact with the staff of your senator, and

3. Come to the conference, even if your senator does not send staff so you are better prepared to interact with the Senator after you return home.


The cost of the conference will be a maximum of $150 per person single occupancy ($100 double), which includes lodging, three meals, and entrance to the conference discussions.   A grant supporting conference costs is pending and, if received, will be shared equally.  At this point, however, we need to request the $150/$100 fee. 


Thank you for considering our invitation. We hope you will be call, write, or visit your senator and join us in Chicago for this important event.  More information, including a conference schedule and registration form is at our website: 

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