Pressenza is saddened to learn of the passing away at the age of 56 of Montserrat Prieto, a member of the Humanist organization, World without Wars and Violence, since its inception in the 90s and one of the key members of the 2009 World March for Peace and Nonviolence Base Team. Montse’s efforts were fundamental in making the World March possible in several places, notably in New Zealand and Australia. And, of course, without that first World March for Peace and Nonviolence that travelled the globe from October 2nd, 2009, to the January 2nd, 2010, Pressenza wouldn’t be here today.

In 2017, at a meeting of States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Montse was invited to join the Coordinating Committee of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in recognition of the great work done by World without Wars and Violence in raising awareness of the danger of nuclear weapons in the Spanish speaking world.

However, if you go online and search for references to Montse, you will see that they are very difficult to find. Montse worked in the background, almost never seeking opportunities to make her own opinions known, but tirelessly supporting those who worked for peace and nonviolence.

One of the rare times Montse did make an opinion known publicly was back in 2017 when Pressenza published an article in Spanish titled The need for the word ‘nonviolence’. Nonviolence in English can frequently be found presented as Non-violence and something similar applies in Spanish where there are those who advocate for the use of the word Noviolencia as an alternative to No Violencia. Montse’s article called on people to adopt the single word noviolencia as a way to pressurise the Real Academia de la Lengua Española, the authoritative reference for Spanish spellings, to include it in upcoming editions of their dictionary.

When I think back on Montse, when I picture in my mind all those many times that we worked together, starting in 2005 when Montse came to London to participate in the UK Forum for Nonviolence, through to our time together in the World March for Peace and Nonviolence and, later, on the Coordinating Committee of Abolition 2000, I remember a human being you could always rely on. She always did what she said she would do, and she did it well. I remember a warm person, with a great sense of humour, a great capacity for work and a great humbleness that is so rare.

At Pressenza, we give thanks to Montse for what she achieved in her lifetime and our thoughts are with her partner, Rafael de la Rubia who founded both World without Wars and Violence and the World Marches for Peace and Nonviolence, and her family and friends.

Peace in the heart, light in the understanding.