CoNGO Pays Tribute to Edith Ballantyne on Her 100th Birthday

Former CoNGO President, Edith Ballantyne (right), in a photo with current CoNGO President, Liberato Bautista (left) and former President, Cyril Ritchie (middle), taken at her house in Geneva, Switzerland on March 19, 2019.

New York City and Geneva, Switzerland | 10 December 2022 (CoNGO InfoNews)—CoNGO, the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations, proclaims, celebrates, and enthuses over the 100 th birthday today, December 10, of one of its outstanding Presidents, Edith Ballantyne, a Canadian citizen who was Secretary General (and later President) of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
(WILPF), headquartered in Geneva.

Edith was born in 1922, on December 10—the date which 26 years later became International Human Rights Day. Nothing could be more fitting, for Edith’s life was wholly devoted to the promotion and protection of all human rights, to the defence of the underprivileged, to the freedom of colonial populations, to countering racism and discrimination, and of course to every aspect of peace and freedom for women.

Edith’s Presidency of CoNGO (1976-1982) took place while the Cold War was still a daily fact of life, and when non-governmental organizations often identified—vocally and sometimes aggressively—with one or another protagonist. As CoNGO President, Edith exercised great diplomatic skill in urging focus on issues that brought NGOs together, and in protecting and enhancing CoNGO’s standing and influence with the United Nations System.

CoNGO salutes Edith Ballantyne for the values she had represented life-long, and wishes her continued health in communion with her family and friends.

In 2021, CoNGO conducted a lengthy interview with Edith, and broadcast it during the 27th CoNGO General Assembly at year-end. Her grasp of issues, her lucidity, and her adherence to principles impressed everyone. The interview gave insights into the illustrious and exceptional life and work of Edith Ballantyne. WILPF also produced an interview of Edith and can be watched here.

Liberato Bautista
President of CoNGO
2007-2011 and 2018-2025

Cyril Ritchie
President of CoNGO