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Peace and Economic Security program staff


Joseph Gerson serves as Director of Programs for the American Friends Service Committee’s Northeast Region, and as director of the Peace and Economic Security Program. He has worked with AFSC since 1976.

Joseph’s public education and organzing focus on challenging U.S. militarism, ending and preventing wars. This includes preparations for and threats to initiate nuclear war. and U.S. military and political domination of Europe, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. He plays a leading role in building collaborations among U.S., Asian, and European peace and nuclear weapons abolition movements. He serves as Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Co-Coordinator of the International Peace & Planet Network. and serves on the steering committee of the No to NATO/No to War Network. He is the U.S. coordinator for the Global Days of Action on Military Spending, designed to build support for cutting military spending and funding real human needs. He works closely with Gensuikyo (Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs) and other Asian and Pacific peace organizations.

In 2016-2017 he participated in the Counter-NATO summit in Warsaw, spoke in side events at the United Nations during negotiations for the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty, on panels during the NPT Review Conference, and organized a related international conference. He was the lead organizer of the Nuclear Disarmament conference held in conjunction with the IPB Disarm! For a Culture of Peace! Congress in Berlin. He served as a keynote speaker in the World Conferences against A- & H-Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Bikini H-Bomb commemorations, the Campaigin for Nuclear Disarmament and the Centre Delas’ annual conferences. He also spoke at the World Social Forum in Montreal.

He began as an activist and organizer in the Civil Right movement. During the Vietnam, Gerson was a draft resister, draft and military counselor, and Director of Arizonans for Peace. From 1973 to ’75 he was the Coordinator of the War Resisters International in London and Brussels, where he worked with World War I war opponents, non-violent and armed resisters to Nazi rule, with Israeli and Palestinian peace advocates, and the women and men who later led European campaigning against “Euromissiles.” He joined the staff of AFSC in 1976 as a Middle East specialist and organizer, working with the figures who lauched the “peace process.” In 1979 and ’80 he helped to launch the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Movement and in 1983 led the successful movement to prevent Boston Harbor from being transformed into a nuclear weapons base.

Since 1984, he has worked closely with the Japanese peace movement, including Hibakusha (Hiroshima and Nagsaki A-Bomb survivors.) He has worked with community and national leaders in Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, South Korea, European and South Americans to U.S. military bases. He initiated the successful Budget for All referendum in Massachusetts, and was the lead organizer of civil society conferences (addressed by U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Angela Kane) and mobilizations on the eves of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences,

His books include Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World; With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral Imagination and The Sun Never Sets…Confronting the Network of Foreign U.S. Military Bases. Joseph has been interviewed by and published in numerous outlets including the BBC, Voice of America, the Boston Globe, Associated Press, Truthout, and Common Dreams. 

Joseph received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and his doctorate in Politics and International Security Studies from the Union Institute and College.