The Middle Powers Initiative expresses its heartfelt
the death of Randy Forsberg, an indomitable strategist and
against nuclear weapons. Randy's leadership during the
movements of the 1980s inspired a generation of abolition
Her writings, speeches and unstoppable passion to free the world
the ultimate evil made her a preeminent figure in the civil
movements that developed over the past quarter-century.
in instituting Global Action to Prevent War, integrating the
conflict prevention, peacekeeping and disarmament, showed her vision
and hope that will guide generations yet to come. All who
peace owe a great debt of gratitude for the life of Randy Forsberg.
Douglas Roche, O.C.
Middle Powers Initiative
Dear Friends Who Love Peace,
Randall Forsberg devoted her considerable intellectual gifts and a heart filled with passion to the service of others. Her years of scholarly endeavors, inspiring leadership, and simply hard work were never dedicated to herself. When one thinks of a person who lives like this one cannot but think of the highest human value - pure selfless love.
Did Randall pursue titles and honors? Did Randall pursue recognition and wealth? Randall Forsberg pursued peace and security for the entire world. She never approached her service just for her family, her gender, her race, religion or community. This level of endeavor is justice in action.
Randall Forsberg looked ahead and worked knowing she was a step ahead. For this many did not appreciate her appropriately. Imagine if she had been in a position of state power, an appropriate position for her skills, knowledge and commitment. She chose to be in a position of inspiring leadership in the realm of ideas and activism that the world critically needs. Such an approach is based on doing that needs to be done, not because it will be recognized or visible immediately. This is real faith in action.
One hears so much nowadays about spirituality and values as the new and needed currency in public affairs. One can see how much the world needs to eliminate nuclear weapons and render the institution of war an unacceptable impractical vanity of the fearful, foolish and greedy. One can see that ending the institution of war is a majestic way of honoring peace.
Randall Forsberg demonstrated love, justice, faith, sacrifice, and honored peace in the highest. How precious is such a person? Let the source of such beautiful qualities enliven us to honor her legacy with our actions. Let our prayers reach that source with appreciation that we knew a truly good person who lived with truly good values, accomplished much and planted seeds which will surely bear more fruit in the future. May the mystery that gives all life bless her with unending love and peace. Amen.
President, Global Security Institute
Dr. Randall Caroline Forsberg was Director of the Institute for Defense and
Disarmament Studies (IDDS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, newly designated Ann
and Bernard Spitzer Professor of Political Science at the City College of
New York, and Co-Founder of Global Action to Prevent War. From the outset of
her productive career, she was an astonishingly effective, inspiring leader
in the struggle to end war and armed violence - charismatic and empathetic
in her wide appeal yet highly self-disciplined, analytical and
dispassionate, searching with surprising success for the key to mobilizing
action in the American political system.
From its beginning in 1968 with the Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute (SIPRI), Randy's remarkable career was imbued with SIPRI's
principled approach of opposing war but analyzing it pragmatically. Randy
was born July 23, 1945. She married while in Stockholm and had a daughter
Katarina, with whom she had remained very close throughout her life.
Randy returned to the United States during the turmoil of the Vietnam War
and the Cold War with the Soviet Union . Her knowledge of nuclear weapons,
her empathy with the fears and pain of those touched by war, and her
intellectual creativity rapidly made her a respected leader in the
anti-nuclear movement. In 1979, she led the team that drafted the "Call to
Halt the Nuclear Arms Race" which became the manifesto of the nationwide
Nuclear Freeze Campaign, advocating a mutual freeze with the Soviet Union of
the level of nuclear weapons and delivery systems; she spoke with passion at
hundreds of meetings throughout the country, directly influencing the lives
of thousands of people to work for peace, and she came to personify the
freeze movement with its message of "Go No Further." These meetings
culminated in the giant June 12, 1982 rally in Central Park, New York City,
still the largest political demonstration in American history and in a
successful freeze resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, the
high-water mark of peace protests in the United States.
Realizing that the struggle for peace was an ongoing one, Randy founded the
Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies in 1980. Her first project was
the Arms Control Reporter, a monthly journal that was the country's most
lucid, informative guide to current arms control negotiations. Randy and a
single devoted colleague kept it going for nearly 30 years, and the project
now lives on in her spirit. At the Institute, Randy issued a series of
professional manuals on the world's armed forces, including the annually
updated IDDS Database of World Arms Holdings, Production and Trade. That
publication was bought and closely studied by defense establishments
throughout the world.
This exacting work was performed on a shoestring. Books like these are not
moneymakers. Randy was a gifted fundraiser, but too engrossed in substance
to be an energetic one. With her mother's full support, Randy mortgaged the
family home to raise money for the Institute's daily operations and cut off
her own salary and income. Katarina and friends pitched in to keep things
moving in crisis after crisis. Randy applied her charisma and superlative
teaching ability to recruit and to train college student interns with the
knowledge and analytical skills to research the Institute's professional
publications and to set the interns themselves on the path to a new career
in arms control and defense analysis.
Randy at times had a legendary temper, which occasionally escaped control
and revealed the intensity of the forces that impelled her to work for
peace. Paradoxically, this quality only enhanced her authority and the
respect paid her leadership.
Randy's other great talent was her ability to talk with government leaders,
including President Clinton, as equals in terms they understood. Perhaps the
high point of these activities was her discussions with Soviet President
Gorbachev in 1988. Randy advanced ideas on conventional disarmament which
Gorbachev later promoted in talks which led to the Conventional Forces
in Europe Treaty (CFE), the largest disarmament agreement in history.
Randy was the founder of Global Action to Prevent War, calling on Saul
Mendlovitz and Jonathan Dean to assist, but supplying the concept and the
drive. Beginning in 1997, she gave the organization its name and pressed for
establishment of a lasting structure. Randy worked day after day, word for
word, sentence on sentence in hammering out the text of the Global Action
Program Statement, the credo of Global Action, straining in each proposed
measure to get the precise balance between aspiration and realism. Like us,
Randy believed that, if the measures described in the Global Action Program
Statement are carried out, this will fulfill the cautious, but triumphant
culminating sentence of the statement, "At this point, we could reasonably
say that war has been abolished."
Randy passed away on the evening of October 19, 2007. We in Global Action
believe that Randy Forsberg has, in her full life of leadership for peace,
shown us a practical route to reach that goal. With many, many others, we
are deeply grateful to her.
--Ambassador (ret.) Jonathan Dean