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Oxford Research Group

  • UKLSE-AS1OX01
  • Collection
  • 2001-2020

The Oxford Research Group (ORG) was a charity, think-tank and non-governmental organisation in the UK that was active between 1982 and 2020. The group was founded by Scilla Elworthy, an anti-war activist and author, and officially incorporated as a charity in 1988. Originally based in Oxford, the ORG relocated their base of operations to London in 2006.

The work of the ORG primarily concerned research into non-violent resolutions to conflicts around the world and opening dialogue between conflicting parties in order to find and implement peaceful solutions. The ORG approached peacebuilding from a psychological perspective, with the intention of breaking the cycles of violence that they believed caused conflict in the first place. While the ORG was a secular, non-religious group, its foundation was partly inspired by the Quaker values of peace and equality, as Elworthy herself belongs to this denomination. Though the ORG was an anti-war group, they were not pacifists.

From its foundation until 2001, the work of the ORG focused on the debate surrounding nuclear weapons and disarmament, as well as dialogue between the UK and Chinese governments on security matters and how governments could move away from the security policies of the Cold War era and towards peacebuilding based on cooperation and dialogue. After the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, the ORG shifted its attention to the War on Terror and peacebuilding in the Middle East in order to better understand the causes and consequences of conflict in the region, with the aim of opening dialogues between the parties involved to resolve such conflict.

In 2003, Elworthy was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize for the ORG's work. Both Elworthy and the ORG were also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988, 1989 and 1991.

Major programmes carried out by the ORG include:

  • The Sustainable Security Programme
  • The Strategic Peacebuilding Programme
  • The Remote Warfare Programme

Projects and groups that originated from the ORG include:

  • Every Casualty Worldwide
  • The Oxford Process
  • Peace Direct

Notable staff at the ORG included:

  • Dr Scilla Elworthy
  • Professor John Sloboda
  • Gabrielle Rifkind
  • Professor Oliver Ramsbotham
  • Professor Frank Barnaby
  • Professor Paul Rogers
  • Paul Ingram

In 2020, the ORG could no longer operate due to funding issues.

Oxford Research Group

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, British Section (WILPF)

  • UKLSE-AS1WF01
  • Collection
  • 2013-2015

The collection includes the born-digital records of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, British Section (WILPF).

WILPF was formed in 1915, when a group of women met for an International Women's Congress in The Hague, Holland when most of Europe was engaged in the First World War. The organisers of the Congress were prominent women in the International Suffrage Alliance from both belligerent and neutral countries. Despite the difficulties of travel during war time approximately 1200 women from 12 countries attended the congress, several women were also prevented from attending. This included 180 British women who the British government either denied a passport or prevented those that did hold one from attending by closing the North Sea to shipping. The congress acted as a protest against World War I and the women discussed the principles on which the war could be stopped and a permanent peace constructed. The Congress established an International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace, which four years later became the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Following the end of the war WILPF held their second International Congress in Zurich, Switzerland in 1919 (with several members of the British section attending) and shortly afterwards WILPF established an office in Geneva, Switzerland which would be the organisation's headquarters. They have since then regularly held International Congresses roughly every three years. During the 1920s and 1930s WILPF campaigned heavily for peace and disarmament, organising peace marches in Great Britain in 1926 and collecting signatures for a world disarmament petition in the early 1930s. On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 communication between the different sections across the world proved difficult, part of the WILPF office moved to New York, USA with the remainder staying in Geneva. The British section remained active throughout the war.

The post war campaigning activities of WILPF have largely been concerned with nuclear disarmament, social and economic justice and the protection of individual human rights. The British section were active in Greenham Common and supported the anti - apartheid campaign in South Africa. WILPF continues to be active today, although many sections across the world are struggling with falling membership figures and financial difficulties. There are currently sections in 32 countries and WILPF is recognised as an NGO.

Women's Resource Centre

  • UKLSE-AS1SD01
  • Collection
  • 2019-2020

This collection includes the born-digital records of the The Women's Resource centre (WRC).

WRC is the UK leading umbrella body for the women’s sector. Its membership and networks include predominantly small local specialist women’s organisations.

WRC was established in 1984, originally as a network of teaching professionals to promote anti-sexist, anti-racist teaching materials in the educational curriculum and eventually evolved in to a women's centre. In response to consultation with organisations in the women’s voluntary and community sector (WVCS) in the late 1990s, WRC took on its current role as an umbrella body providing capacity building and support for women’s organisations, and registered as a charity in 1998.

WRC takes its position from the historical context of the Women’ Liberation Movement.

For more information, explore the WRC website and its history page.

Women's Resource Centre (WRC)