- Co-chair of Win Without War
- Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions
Susan Shaer earned a BS in education, literature and communications from Bowling Green State University in 1966, and a graduate degree in literature from American University two years later. In 1993 she joined the staff of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) and has served as that organization’s executive director ever since. She has also been the national co-chair of Win Without War (WWW) since 2002.
In addition to her work with WAND and WWW, Shaer has served variously as co chair of Project Abolition and the National Coalition for Peace and Justice (an entity that united most of the major peace groups in the United States); a founding member of the Campaign for America’s Future; a directors’ board member with the League of Women Voters (LWV); president of LWV’s Massachusetts chapter (1984-87); co-founder and president of the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts (1987-89); director of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (1987-99); executive director of the Massachusetts Tax Comission (1989-90); director of the Clearinghouse for Women Candidates (at the Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics); a consultant for the National Democratic Institute; a featured contributor to the Huffington Post; a team member of the Peace & Security Initiative (2003-09); a founding member of EMILY’s List; a board member of Planned Parenthood; a political commentator for the Boston-based WBZ radio and NECN television; and an editor/advisory board member of the Peace Majority Report, Teen Voices magazine, and EMERGE Massachusetts.
In 1996, Shaer was one of approximately 130 leftists who played a role in helping Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey found the Campaign for America’s Future. Among the other notables were: Mary Frances Berry, Julian Bond, Heather Booth, John Cavanagh, Richard Cloward, Jeff Cohen, Ken Cook, Peter Dreier, Barbara Ehrenreich, Betty Friedan, Todd Gitlin, Heidi Hartmann, Tom Hayden, Denis Hayes, Roger Hickey, Patricia Ireland, Jesse Jackson, Joseph Lowery, Steve Max, Gerald McEntee, Harold Meyerson, Frances Fox Piven, Robert Reich, Mark Ritchie, Arlie Schardt, Andrew Stern, John Sweeney, and Richard Trumka.
On March 8, 2010, Shaer was invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama to celebrate International Women’s Day. “President Obama has made it clear, as has the rest of the world,” Shaer said in a subsequent interview with the Arlington Advocate, “that we do not need nuclear weapons.”
In April 2010, Shaer participated in the 62nd Annual Conference on World Affairs, a yearly University of Colorado-Boulder event featuring panel discussions among experts on a broad spectrum of international matters.
In 2012 Shaer presented Democratic Rep. Ed Markey with an Alliance for Nuclear Accountability award, honoring the congressman for his effort to “constrain nuclear weapons programs.”
In 2015, Shaer was a supporter of the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, which called for steep reductions in the number of purchased and deployed U.S. strategic submarines; a moratorium on the development of new American intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range bombers; and the cancellation of U.S. missile-defense programs.
In celebration of “Women’s Equality Day” on August 25, 2015, Shaer praised Wendy Sherman, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, for her work as the leading American negotiator of the “historic” Iran nuclear deal—an agreement that allowed the Islamist regime in Tehran to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and be guaranteed of having a near-zero breakout time to the development of a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road. Shaer described the Iran agreement as “perhaps the most important peace and security negotiation in this century,” and as a testament to the efficacy of the Obama administration’s “diplomacy efforts.” “Despite its success,” she added in February 2016, “some members of Congress continue to look for ways to void the deal. They are fixated on Iran’s ballistic missile program, its sponsorship of various terror groups, and its human rights abuses…. [K]illing the deal would isolate the United States, as the rest of the world has begun normalizing business ties with Iran.” In that same piece, Shaer celebrated the fact that “as a result of the deal, Iran has gone from being two to three months away from [having] enough material for one bomb, to one year away.”
In addition to her many other affiliations, Shaer has been a consultant to the Colombe Foundation since January 2017.
Shaer’s husband is former Democratic State Representative and State Senator Jim Marzilli of Massachusetts.
For additional information on Susan Shaer, click here.
Further Reading: “Susan Shaer” (LinkedIn.com, Social Transformation Project, Huffington Post); “Arlington’s Susan Shaer Invited to the White House” (Arlington Advocate, 6-27-2010); “Executive Director [Susan Shaer] of Boston-Based Nonprofit to Present [Alliance for Nuclear Accountability] Award to Rep. Markey” (3-20-2012); “Markey and Merkley Introduce [SANE] Legislation to Cut Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget” (2-28-2014); “Tribute on Women’s Equality Day: Women, Power, Peace” (by Susan Shaer and Sharon Zimmerman, 8-26-2015); “Despite Iran Deal Success, Beware of Attempts to Undermine It” (by Susan Shaer and Erica Fein, 2-1-2016).