Jeannie Peterson, a distinguished author, advocate for the arts Died on February 19, 2024

Jeannie Peterson, a distinguished author, advocate for the arts, and former director at the United Nations, passed away on February 19, 2024, in Cardiff by the Sea, California. Born in Suttons Bay, Michigan, in 1940, Jeannie led a remarkable life dedicated to promoting peace, understanding, and the arts.

Jeannie’s academic journey began at Northwestern University, where she earned both her undergraduate degree and a master of science in journalism. Following her studies, she embarked on a career as a travel writer before venturing to Sweden, where she served as the editor of Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment from 1972 to 1983.

During her tenure at Ambio, Jeannie spearheaded the publication of a groundbreaking double issue in 1982, along with a subsequent book titled “The Aftermath: The Human and Ecological Consequences of Nuclear War.” This publication, co-edited with scientist Paul Crutzen, explored the devastating impact of nuclear war on the environment and coined the term “nuclear winter.” Jeannie’s work played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the catastrophic consequences of nuclear conflict and contributed to the dialogue surrounding global peace efforts.

In 1984, Jeannie transitioned to a role as director of the Public Information Center for the Consequences of Nuclear War in Washington, D.C. Her commitment to advocating for peace and nuclear disarmament earned her recognition in 2022 when she was honored as one of eight recipients of the prestigious Future of Life Award for her efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear war.

From 1986 to 2001, Jeannie dedicated herself to various humanitarian efforts with the United Nations, serving in roles across the globe, including country director for the United Nations Population Fund in Manila and head of political offices with the United Nations Protection Force in Belgrade and Croatia. Her work with the United Nations focused on promoting peace, humanitarian aid, and international cooperation, leaving a lasting impact on communities worldwide.

In addition to her diplomatic and advocacy work, Jeannie was a passionate supporter of the arts and an active member of the Vermont community. During her time in Vermont, she contributed to numerous cultural organizations and events, enriching the local arts scene and fostering connections between artists from around the world. Through her photography, Jeannie captured the beauty of nature and shared her artistic vision with others, exhibiting her work at galleries across the state.

Jeannie’s legacy in Vermont lives on through her contributions to Island Arts, an organization dedicated to supporting the arts in the Champlain Islands community. Her generous spirit and love for the arts will be remembered through a special exhibition of her photographs, showcasing her deep connection to Lake Champlain and the surrounding landscape.

Jeannie is survived by her brothers Mark and Paul Peterson, along with their families. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ellen Johnson and Paulus Peterson, as well as her siblings Einer Peterson and Nathalie Ensrud.

In remembrance of Jeannie Peterson, donations can be made to Island Arts to support the arts and benefit the Champlain Islands communities, continuing her legacy of promoting creativity, understanding, and peace through the power of the arts.

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