About Forward Into Light


Forward Into Light” is the name of the annual Master Class sponsored by The Bertha von Suttner Project. “Forward Into Light” was an expression that appeared on the banners used by the U.S. Suffragists beginning in the early 1900s. The phrase also captures Bertha von Suttner's optimism. Among her credos were "Hail to the Future" and "Humanity Develops Upward". The Bertha von Suttner Project has adopted the expression “Forward Into Light” because it provides an elegant bridge or “red thread” that connects Bertha von Suttner’s work with the political empowerment of women. It also connects these two labors (peace and women’s political empowerment) to the the labors of those men who worked within these movements. The idea that women and men must labor together to lift humanity to a higher form is the legacy of Pro Concordia Labor, a spirit which animated the 19th century peace movement.

The Forward Into Light Master Classes - which are scheduled to continue until 2019 - connect the work of 100 years ago to the present normative framework and international machinery which is designed to create a more humane world. Further, these classes connect the work of Bertha von Suttner and her colleagues in the 19th Peace Movement, to the story of the political empowerment of women and its spread to the international sphere. Importantly, Bertha von Suttner believed that although formal political empowerment via the right to vote was necessary for Peace, it was not sufficient. Among the themes of her last book , Der Menschheit Hochgedanken (1912) (When Thoughts Will Soar), is the notion that women's rational capacities must be fully developed so that their full humanity can be brought to bear on proper statecraft. Women must become thinkers in order to help develop a humane politic.

The Bertha von Suttner Project was created in 2013 - in connection with the centenary anniversary of the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands, to help to introduce English speaking audiences to the philosophy and legacy of Bertha von Suttner. In addition to providing meaningful education through Master Classes, the Bertha von Suttner Project has also provided education through lectures at the International Criminal Court, The Hague Academy and the Peace Palace. Currently, the Project is financing a number of translations of Bertha von Suttner’s works into english - making available these works to english speaking audiences for the very first time. The project is supported by The Peace Through Education Fund at Central Michigan University (Mt. Pleasant, MI, U.S.A.) and the Peace Palace Library (The Hague, Netherlands).
Hope Elizabeth May is Creative Director of the Project. Candice Alihusain is Assistant Director.

The video on the homepage is the 1907 film ‘The Dirigible Homeland’ - a silent film made by Alice Guy - a pioneer female film maker. The film shows the French dirigible (steerable) airship, ‘La Patrie’ - leaving the hangar in 1907. The Patrie was the first airship purchased by the French army.

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