November 3-5th, 2017 | SUNY University at Albany

Peace Action New York State is empowering the next generation of peace leaders. Together with committed student leaders working for peace, we are shaping U.S. foreign policy to prioritize human needs over military solutions. Join us at the second annual Student Peace Conference.

The 2017 Student Peace Conference will:

  • Help build the momentum of the peace movement to oppose endless militarism of the U.S. in conflicts worldwide
  • Connect students in a community to address and find solutions to the challenges of on-campus organizing
  • Provide students with the tools to plug in to national and grassroots campaigns to promote sustainable peace and justice
  • Create space for the development of critical community organizing skills and campaign development
  • Support student-led peace activism and leadership development in creating a better world for us all.

Conference Schedule to make some change.

This schedule is subject to change, as we continue to plan for our fall conference. Please stay tuned for the announcement of this conference’s list of guest speakers. 

We’re working on the foundation of the peace movement: active discussion sections on issues we’re passionate about in community with experts, trainings on the techniques that work with a focus on non-violent resistance and civil disobedience, and skills-sharing workshops to discuss the challenges and best-case practices of on-campus organizing. This fall’s conference will feature a non-violent direct action training by Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution, and speakers from the March for Racial Justice and MADRE.


Friday, November 3rd
  • 5:30PM    Conference Registration and Sign-In
6:30PM    The Peace & Justice Anti-War Organizing Conference: Welcome
    Kate Alexander, Policy Director and Emily Rubino, Grassroots Campaigns Coordinator
  • 7:00PM    Grab Pizza & Informal Dinner
  • 7:30PM    Bringing All Voices In: Community Values for the Conference
    Emily Rubino, Grassroots Campaigns Coordinator
  • 8:00PM    Virtual Keynote: No War with North Korea
    Christine Ahn, Women Cross the DMZ and Korea Policy Institute
Saturday, November 4th
  • 9:30AM     Leave Hotel for Campus
  • 10:00AM   Breakfast on Campus
10:30AM   Student Ted Talk: Sabrina Chen, Columbia University
  • 10:50AM   Break
  • 11:00AM   Strategic and Creative Campaign Planning and Actions
    Beautiful Trouble Organizers: Nadine Bloch and Marybeth Onyeukwu
  • 1:00PM     Lunch
  • 2:00PM     Continued: Strategic and Creative Campaign Planning and Actions
    Beautiful Trouble Organizers: Nadine Bloch and Marybeth Onyeukwu
  • 4:00PM     Break
  • 4:15PM     Student Ted Talk: Uma Natarajan, SUNY Geneseo
  • 4:30PM     Current Campaigns: End the Wars in the Middle East, Move the Money, Nuclear Abolition
    Kate Alexander, Policy Director
  • 5:15PM     Break
  • 5:30PM     Breakout Sessions:
    Racial Justice: Agunda Okeyo, March for Racial Justice
    Gender Justice: Afarin Dadkhah, MADRE
    Environmental Justice: Claude Copeland, About Face (formerly Iraq Veterans Against War)
  • 6:30PM     Break
  • 7:00PM     Dinner
  • 7:45PM     Keynote Speaker: #NoMuslimBanEver & End U.S. Support for War on Yemen
    Rabyaah Althaibani, Yemeni Activist
Sunday, November 5th
  • 9:30AM    Check Out of Hotel
  • 10:00AM   Breakfast
  • 10:30AM   Student Ted Talks: Emilie Beck, Hofstra University
  • 12:00PM   Community Review: Feedback & Next Steps
  • 12:30PM   End of Conference

Our Guest Experts

Christine Ahn

Christine Ahn

Founder, Women Cross the DMZ and Co-Founder, Korea Policy Institute

Keynote Speaker (Friday – Remote)

Christine Ahn is the founder and International Coordinator of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War, reunite families, and ensure women’s leadership in peace building. She is the co-founder of the Korea Policy InstituteGlobal Campaign to Save Jeju Island, and National Campaign to End the Korean War. Christine has organized peace and humanitarian aid delegations to North and South Korea, and has spoken in CongressUnited Nations and the Republic of Korea National Commission on Human Rights. Ahn is the former Senior Policy Analyst at the Global Fund for Women and has worked with the Oakland InstituteGrassroots Global JusticeInstitute for Food and Development Policy, and Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development. She served for six years on the board of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

Christine is a columnist with Foreign Policy In Focus, and her writings have appeared in The New York TimesSan Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Huffington Post, Inter Press ServiceTruthout and The NationShe is also the editor of Shafted: Free Trade and America’s Working Poor, author of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex, and co-producer of Fashion Resistance to Militarism. She has appeared on Al Jazeera, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, Democracy Now!, NBC Today Show, NPR and Voice of America.

She was been awarded a Twink Frey Visiting Social Justice Activist by the University of Michigan, Center for the Education of Women, as a Rising Peacemaker by the Agape Foundation, as a social justice leader by the Wallace and Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and as a Progressive Women’s Voices Fellow by the Women’s Media Center. Christine has a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Rabyaah Althaibani

Rabyaah Althaibani

Yemeni Peace & #NoMuslimBanEver Activist

Keynote Speaker (Saturday)

Rabyaah Althaibani is a Yemeni-American community activist. She is a leading organizer against all versions of the Muslim Ban and is a strong advocate for peace in Yemen, and for ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s attacks on Yemen, and indiscriminate attacks against Yemeni civilians.  Rabyaah came to America when her family emigrated from Yemen in 1985. She’s lived in Brooklyn and Queens ever since. Her husband, Basheer Othman, is a Yemeni journalist agitating against ideological extremism, is unable to join her in Brooklyn because of the Muslim Ban of this administration. She has joined forces  Muslim activists like Linda Sarsour to combat Islamophobia. “We refuse to go back into the shadows,” she says. “There’s a lot of sacrifice, for sure, of our time, our resources, and our safety. But I really believe this is the civil rights moment for Arab Americans, and that’s the silver lining that’s motivating me.”

Rabyaah’s story can be seen in an inspiring new documentary, American Uprising: Muslim Ban.

Agunda Okeyo

Agunda Okeyo

Communications Chair, March for Racial Justice

Breakout Session: Racial Justice & Armed Conflict

Agunda Okeyo is a writer, producer, filmmaker and activist born in Nairobi and raised between New York City and the Kenyan capital. She has called New York City home for more than 20 years and proudly considers herself a Pan-African New Yorker. Okeyo understands and writes from a global perspective about politics, culture, film, and comedy. She is published with Salon, The Daily Beast, For Harriet, OkayAfrica, NBC, O Magazine and Women’s Media Center (WMC) founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem.A panoramic awareness has shaped her professional experience with organizations such as Duara Foundation, Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action, Re:Gender and Cultural Survival. She is lauded for her ongoing production at Caroline’s on Broadway called Sisters of Comedy. It is the only all black women showcase at any of the top comedy clubs in NYC. She has also produced  comedy shows at Ginny’s Supper Club and Gotham Comedy Club. Okeyo has been featured as a rising producer and activist in Time Out New York, The New Yorker, Essence, The Root, Black Enterprise, Forbes, Huffington Post and NBC. In 2016 she was named a Progressive Women’s Voices fellow with Women’s Media Center and joined the NYC board of Women, Action and the Media (WAM!NYC).  And in 2017 co-founded the WOC led boycott campaign Hater Free NYC and serves  as Communications Chair for the March for Racial Justice in Washington, D.C. & Nationwide.

Afarin Dadkhah

Afarin Dadkhah

Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator, MADRE

Breakout Session: Gender Justice & Armed Conflict

Afarin Dadkhah was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. At an early age, Ms. Dadkhah became involved in community organizing as part of the youth caucus of the Dialogue Among Civilizations (DAC) initiative. In the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, Ms. Dadkhah was active in youth groups undertaking nonviolent protests and mass resistance against fraudulent election results, which came to be known as the Iranian Green Movement. In 2013, Ms. Dadkhah received her M.A. in International Peace and Justice Studies from University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Throughout the Master’s program, Ms. Dadkhah conducted extensive research on the status of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which informed her Masters’ thesis on sexual violence against women in the aftermath of the Arab Spring in Egypt. While completing her degree, Ms. Dadkhah worked with the International Rescue Committee in San Diego, California, implementing programs to foster empowerment and leadership skills in refugee and immigrant youth. Currently, Ms. Dadkhah is the Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator at MADRE, planning and implementing projects and initiatives that address gender-based violence and advance women’s and LGBTQ rights in conflict and disaster settings, including Iraq, Colombia, Haiti, and Syria.

Claude Copeland

Claude Copeland

Veteran & Climate Justice Organizer, NW Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

Breakout Session: Environmental Justice and Armed Conflict

Claude Copeland is an interfaith climate justice and anti-war organizer. He is the energy justice organizer with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition has a tradition of broad-based, membership driven, social justice community organizing. We build power through relational organizing and issue campaigns that recruit and train individual and institutional members, energize institutions, win concrete victories that improve material conditions for community members, change public and private policies that affect the Northwest Bronx, and alter the relations of power. He is also an active member of About Face (formerly known as Iraq Veterans Against War) and a leader of the NYC chapter, and an Iraq War veteran.  He is also active in the Faith Over Fear campaign to organize against policies of fear being enacted at the local and federal levels.

We asked student leaders why they are taking action for peace. Listen to what they had to say about the world they want to live in, and join them at the 2017 fall peace conference to learn what students can do to help build that world.