Society: Arts and Science – January 9

Today is International Thanksgiving Day! A day to celebrate your life in a special way…

Swedish and Norwegian committees bestow Nobel Prizes in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. In 1895, the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Emily Greene Balch died on this date in 1961. She was an American economist and writer. She became a Quaker and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her work with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Balch combined an academic career at Wellesley College with a long-standing interest in social issues such as poverty, child labour and immigration, as well as settlement work to uplift poor immigrants and reduce juvenile delinquency. She moved into the peace movement at the start of the World War I in 1914 and began collaborating with Jane Addams of Chicago. She refused to support the war effort when the United States entered the war in 1917 and lost her professorship at Wellesley College. In 1919, Balch played a central role in the International Congress of Women. It changed its name to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and was based in Geneva. She served the League as its first international Secretary-Treasurer, administering the organisation’s activities. She helped set up summer schools on peace education and created new branches in over 50 countries. She cooperated with the newly established League of Nations regarding drug control, aviation, refugees, and disarmament. In World War II, she favoured Allied victory and did not criticise the war effort, but did support the rights of conscientious objectors.