Kathy Kelly – Long Version

Kathy Kelly, co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, (www.vcnv.org) a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

During each of several recent trips to Afghanistan, Kathy Kelly, as an invited guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. She and her companions in Voices for Creative Nonviolence believe that “where you stand determines what you see.”

They are resolved not to let war sever the bonds of friendship between them and Afghan people whom they’ve grown to know through successive delegations. Kelly and her companions insist that the U.S. is not waging a “humanitarian war” in Afghanistan.

Kelly has also joined with activists in various regions of the country to protest drone warfare by holding demonstrations outside of U.S. military bases in Nevada, upstate New York, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

During late June and early July of 2011, Kelly was a passenger on the “Audacity to Hope” as part of the US Boat to Gaza project. She also attempted to reach Gaza by flying from Athens to Tel Aviv, as part of the Welcome to Palestine effort, but the Israeli government deported her back to Greece.

In 2009, she lived in Gaza during the final days of the Operation Cast Lead bombing; later that year, Voices formed another small delegation to visit Pakistan, aiming to learn more about the effects of U.S. drone warfare on the civilian population and to better understand consequences of U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan. She returned again to Gaza in November 2012 to meet with the survivors of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense and to hear their stories.

From 1996 – 2003, Voices activists formed 70 delegations that openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kathy and her companions lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing.

She was sentenced to one year in federal prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites (1988-89) and spent three months in prison, in 2004, for crossing the line at Fort Benning’s military training school. As a war tax refuser, she has refused payment of all forms of federal income tax since 1980.

She and her companions at the Voices home/office in Chicago believe that non-violence necessarily involves simplicity, service, sharing of resources and non-violent direct action in resistance to war and oppression.

Other Lands Have Dreams: from Baghdad to Pekin Prison (2005) by Kathy Kelly is available through Counterpunch (www.counterpunch.org) or Voices for Creative Nonviolence, 1249 West Argyle, Chicago, IL 60640 773-878-3815

“In a Time of Siege,” a Peace Productions DVD about Voices in the Wilderness, narrated by Studs Terkel, is available from the Voices for Creative Nonviolence office, 1249 West Argyle, Chicago, IL 60640 773-878-3815.


• B.A. Loyola University at Chicago 1974
• Masters in Religious Education, Chicago Theological Seminary; part of a consortium of schools which included the Jesuit School of Theology at Chicago where Kelly took courses each quarter


Other Lands Have Dreams: from Baghdad to Pekin Prison Counterpunch Press spring 2005

Editor and contributor:

War and Peace in the Gulf Cornerstone Press April 2001


Iraq Under Siege Edited by Anthony Arnove 2000

Live from Palestine Edited by Nancy Stohlman and Laurieann Aladin 2003

Articles, essays and interviews printed in:

The Sun, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, America, The Progressive, The National Catholic Reporter, Columbia Journal of International Affairs, The Link, Fellowship of Reconciliation Magazine, Lapis Magazine, The Jordan Times, The Washington Report on the Middle East, The Capitol Times, MERIP Magazine, Satya Magazine, Hope Magazine, Peace News,Common Dreams website, Counterpunch website, Electroniciraq.net website, Voices In The Wilderness website, Voices for Creative Nonviolence website, and Antiwar.Com website


• Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award, 1998
• Newberry Library Free Speech Award, 1998
• Detroit City Council Testimonial Resolution commending humanitarian efforts, February 1999
• Robert O. Cooper Fellowship in Peace and Justice Award, Southern Methodist University March 1999
• University of the Incarnate Word Distinguished Speaker Award March 1999
• California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition for Founding of Voices in the Wilderness November 1999
• Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award, 1999
• Consortium on Peace Research and Development Social Courage Award, 1999
• Dan Berrigan Award, DePaul University 1999
• Office of the Americas Peace and Justice Award November 1999
• International Fellowship of Reconciliation Pfeiffer Peace Award, February 2000
• Nobel Peace Prize Nominee with Denis Halliday 2000
• Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee Humanitarian Award June 2000
• Nobel Peace Prize Nominee 2001
• Chaldean Iraqi American Association of Michigan Appreciation Award for Dedication in Lifting Sanctions Against Iraq July 2001
• Newberry Library “1st place” orator – Bughouse Square Debates August 2001
• Life for Relief and Development Humanitarian Services Award September 2001
• Global Exchange International Women’s Rights Awardee May 2003
• Archbishop Oscar Romero Award, Mercyhurst College March 2003
• Nobel Peace prize Nominee, with Voices in the Wilderness 2003
• Call to Action Leadership Award, with Voices in the Wilderness 2003
• Thomas Merton Center Award, Pittsburgh, PA 2003
• Adela Dwyer St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award, Villanova University, Voices in the Wilderness 2003
• William Scarlett Award from The Witness, Voices in the Wilderness 2003
• Association of Chicago Priests, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Common Ground Award with Voices in the Wilderness 2004
• First Annual Award for Justice on behalf of the Religious Orders Partnership given to Kathy Kelly and Voices in the Wilderness • Cranbrook Peace Foundation Annual Peace Award 2004
• Houston Peace and Justice Center National Peacemaker Award
• Peace Seeker of the Year 2005, Montana Peace Seekers Network
• Doctor of Theology honoris causa from Chicago Theological Seminary awarded May 14, 2005
• Honorary degree awarded from Lewis University, May 15, 2005
• Elliott Black Award for 2006 awarded by the American Ethical Union
• De Paul Center for Church/State Studies 2007 John Courtney Murray Award April 2007
• Bradford-O’Neill Medallion for Social Justice Recipient, Dominican University September 2007
• The Oscar Romero Award presented by Pax Christi Maine October 2007
• The Washington Peace Center Lifetime Achievement Award October 2009
• War Resisters Peace Award 2010
• American Friends Service Committee “Speak Truth to Power Award” June 2011
• Justice Scholars Association “The Chomsky Award” June 2011
• The Clare Award from the Clinton Franciscans, June 2012
• Evanston Friends Monthly Meeting Peace Award, January 2013
• Community church of Boston Sacco & Vanzetti Award for Social Justice, May 2015
• Pax Christi Southern California Ambassador of Peace Award, June 2015
• Gandhi Peace Award, Promoting Enduring Peace, October 2015
• 2015 U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation Peace Prize [46]
• 2017 Veterans For Peace Gandhian Non-Violence Award – co-recipent with the late, and dearly-missed John Heuer