Central Michigan University will be the first of several sites worldwide to raise a symbolic peace flag in support of the Korean people and the Women's Walk for Peace in Korea, kicking off an international peace demonstration and continuing a commitment to peace in the spirit of E.C. Warriner, CMU's fourth president, who was actively involved in the pre-World War I Peace Movement.
On May 11, the purple, yellow and white Pro Concordia Labor peace flag – which was designed in 1897 by Countess Cora di Brazzà and used by peace activists in the 19th century – will be carried in a procession through campus beginning at the Bohannon Schoolhouse at 3:30 p.m. President George E. Ross will raise the flag in a ceremony in front of Warriner Hall at 4 p.m., following the procession.
To mark International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament May 24, 30 international women peacemakers will walk across the two-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone, the world's most heavily fortified border that divides North and South Korea. The walk will bring international attention to the need to end the Korean War by replacing the 1953 armistice agreement with a permanent peace treaty. The walkers also want to help reunite families long-separated by the DMZ and ensure women are involved at all levels of the peace-building process.
The Pro Concordia Labor peace flag will be carried on the women's walk and given to the women of both North and South Korea.
"The flag connects the Women's DMZ Walk with earlier moments of women's activism for peace that have been erased from the public memory," CMU philosophy professor Hope Elizabeth May said. "Exactly 100 years ago, in 1915, more than 1,200 women assembled in The Hague, The Netherlands, in an effort to initiate a process of dialogue and mediation in attempt to end World War 1 and establish a permanent, just peace. The women's DMZ peace walk is squarely in that tradition, and the 1897 flag connects these two moments."
May has been working with the organizers of the DMZ peace walk and plans to join the walkers in South Korea.
Other locations participating in the raising of the Pro Concordia Labor peace flag include the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands; Harmannsdorf, Austria; and Brazza, Italy.
CMU's history of peace
E.C. Warriner was actively involved in the pre-World War I Peace Movement connected with the Pro Concordia Labor peace flag. In 1910, while Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools, Warriner organized the Michigan branch of the American School Peace League, a national network of public school teachers and administrators committed to education about the new international legal machinery created to eliminate armed conflict. Warriner remained actively involved in the ASPL throughout World War I and his presidency. In 1923, his CMU commencement address was entitled "The Outlook for Peace."
Charles Grawn, CMU's third president, also served as vice president of the ASPL.