Intern Spotlight: Vanessa Fox

Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers and interns around the world. Want to volunteer or intern with World BEYOND War? Email


Arizona, U.S.

How did you get involved with anti-war activism and World BEYOND War (WBW)?

At a young age, I learned about the Holocaust by listening to survivors’ stories, watching the documentary Shoah, and hearing stories of my own family having been imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. The dehumanization, genocide, and killing caused by the war-like mindset horrified me. I couldn’t understand how people could be so cruel to others. My parents also taught me about the controversies surrounding the Vietnam War, and how American servicemen and women who thought they were doing the right thing were spit on upon their return to the U.S. I learned about the shame, guilt, and post-traumatic effects of war on its victims and perpetrators.

However, I was still under the illusion that war was fought for noble and benevolent reasons, like to rescue the Jews from the Nazis, or to save the world from cruel governments. I thought that wars were a necessary and inevitable part of life, an inescapable fate of the human condition. But, a fire was lit in my heart to end war and genocide, and to find peaceful ways to do it. So, I advocated for peace in my community and country, and decided to pursue my Master’s Degree in the Art of Social Change at Starr King to be a professional anti-war activist.

During my time at Starr King, I learned about the white-washing and about the disillusioning truths behind the history that I had been taught in school, especially concerning war and genocide. I learned the real and selfish reasons that wars are fought. I learned about the moral injury, shame, guilt, dehumanization, and endless devastation caused by war and genocide. In response, I sought out organizations that opposed war and proposed alternatives to it. Among them was World BEYOND War. On their website, I learned that war is neither inevitable, nor necessary. I signed WBW’s Declaration of Peace and shared their easy-to-access online petitions. I hit the pavement in local rallies and campaigns, and communicated regularly with my legislators. I fell in love with the Alternative Global Security System (AGSS) that WBW advocates for, and learned that there is truly another way forward without weapons, violence, or war. I am so honored to intern with WBW, a truly fantastic organization!

What kinds of WBW activities do you work on as part of your internship?

I manage the Events Calendar, represent WBW at the “Arms, Militarism, and Climate Justice” working group, and take part in exciting online courses, like “War and the Environment.” I have the opportunity and honor to co-host the 2024 WBW Film Fest with Organizing Director, Greta Zarro. I am assisting the Development Director Alex McAdams with fundraising tasks, the Education Director Phill Gittins with updating course content, and the Organizing Director Greta Zarro with petition databasing, events, and technical support. I look forward to doing even more for WBW!

What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with anti-war activism and WBW?

Believe in yourself and your cause! Don’t let people tell you that war cannot be abolished. If enough people work for a world beyond war, then we will achieve it! I would recommend reading A Global Security System: An Alternative to War by Phill Gittins, Kent Shifferd and Patrick Hiller, an actual blueprint for peace! Subscribe to WBW’s email list, take WBW courses, and explore the website. There are so many activities that you can participate in, while you receive excellent guidance, feedback, and support from staff such as Greta Zarro, the Organizing Director and Phill Gittins, the Education Director. Anyone can start a chapter of WBW right in their hometown with Greta’s guidance, and become part of a very supportive international community. Listen to David Swanson, the Executive Director, speak on current issues as he debunks myths about war. Stay inspired!

What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?

World BEYOND War’s passion for peacemaking, wonderful resources, and informative courses keep me inspired. The actions taken by chapter members, community organizers, and affiliates are so inspiring. When people listen to WBW’s message and realize that peace is possible, they fill my heart with joy. My heroes, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, among many others further motivate me to “Be the change I want to see in the world.”

Posted February 14, 2024.

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