Cynda Collins Arsenault is the founder of Our Secure Future: Women Make the Difference, which is part of the operation foundation, One Earth Future. She is co-founder, Board Chair and President of Secure World Foundation, and co-founder and member of the boards of the Arsenault Family Foundation and One Earth Future. She has 45+ years of experience in non-profit work including peace and justice, criminal justice, mental health, disability rights and environmental issues.
She is currently helping fund and network women-powered, diplomacy-forward, values-driven initiatives working towards a world free of nuclear threats. Cynda gave a pioneering gift to the Women’s Initiative $1 Million Campaign and has agreed to match all gifts up to $50,000. Terry Greenblatt, a senior advisor at Ploughshares Fund, recently spoke with Cynda about her support for the Ploughshares Fund Women’s Initiative.
Why nuclear weapons? How did you become involved in this issue?
That’s not a simple question, and we need to be asking a much broader question: How do we create the kind of world we want to live in? How do we make sure that the future is peaceful and sustainable? When you consider nuclear weapons in that context, they obviously have no place in a more secure future. When I was a child, I was already aware that there were people who were hungry, who were unnecessarily dying. Being an activist in Berkeley in the late 60s and early 70s was eye-opening, mainly because there were so many people who believed that we could change things and do better for everyone. We were protesting against the systems that were perpetuating war and inequality. It was then I think that I understood that there was one “us”—not an us and them, and that by improving those systems we were creating a safer and more secure world.
Our Secure Future: Women Make the Difference is your operating foundation working to catalyze systems that eliminate the root causes of war. Tell us more about that.
I believe that men go to war over power, resources, land and money. More women involved means more attention to alternative solutions that can prevent the conflict from erupting.
What role have you seen Ploughshares Fund play in the past decade? Where do you hope we are successful in this one?
Ploughshares Fund has been committed to peace and security issues from the beginning. I’m really glad to see that they have established the Women’s Initiative. When women aren’t specifically mentioned, it’s as if we just aren’t there. The Women’s Initiative calls it out and pushes these issues forward, and names inclusivity, women’s and other diverse voices, as critical to their mission of eventually eliminating nuclear weapons from the planet.
Any final words about why you partner with us for the Women’s Initiative?
It’s an initiative by a respected organization that supports and enhances what women have to contribute and ensures that we are an essential part of the solution to one of the world’s greatest problems.