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Jody Williams        

Humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Chairman of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines

Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work as founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year. At that time, she became the 10th woman in its almost 100-year history to receive the Prize.

Like others who’ve seen the ravages of war, she’s an outspoken peace activist who struggles to reclaim the real meaning of peace—a concept which goes far beyond the absence of armed conflict and is defined by human security, not national security. Williams believes that working for peace is not for the faint of heart. It requires dogged persistence and a commitment to sustainable peace, built on environmental justice and meeting the basic needs of the majority of people on our planet.

Since January of 2006, Williams has worked toward those ends through the Nobel Women’s Initiative, which she chairs. Along with sister Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi of Iran, she took the lead in establishing the Nobel Women’s Initiative. They were joined at that time by sister Nobel Laureates Wangari Maathai (Kenya), Rigoberta Menchu Tum (Guatemala) and Betty Williams and Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland).

The Initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and the influence and access of the women Nobel Laureates themselves to support and amplify the efforts of women around the world working for sustainable peace with justice and equality. In May 2012, the Nobel Women’s Initiative launched the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, which Williams co-chairs. Since 1998, she has also served as a Campaign Ambassador for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Beginning in early 1992 with two non-governmental organizations and a staff of one – Williams, she oversaw the Campaign’s growth to over 1,300 organizations in 95 countries working to eliminate antipersonnel landmines. In an unprecedented cooperative effort with governments, UN bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, she served as a chief strategist and spokesperson for the ICBL as it dramatically achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during a diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997.

Williams continues to be recognized for her contributions to human rights and global security. She is the recipient of fifteen honorary degrees, among other recognitions. In 2004, Williams was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in its first such list.

She holds the Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professorship in Peace and Social Justice at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston where she has been teaching since 2003. In academic year 2012-2013, she became the inaugural Jane Addams Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Social Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Her new memoir on life as a grassroots activist, "My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize," was released by the University of California Press on March 1, 2013.

Speech Topics

The Need for a New Civil Society Movement to Ban Nukes

Faced with the prospect of nuclear proliferation, nuclear weapons falling into the hands of non-state actors, and NATO's continued position of preserving the right of "first use of tactical nuclear weapons," Williams discusses the urgent need of citizen involvement in creating a new global movement to ban nukes.

The Role of Women in Peace and Security

Williams highlights the largely unrecognized efforts of women around the world in conflict situations to hold family and community together while struggling for peace during armed conflict. It is fundamental to involve women in all aspects of conflict prevention, peace negotiations, and peace-building, she says, if sustainable peace is to be achieved in conflict-ridden states.

Human Security or National Security

Williams discusses "security" in today's globalized world, arguing that if the security needs of individuals and communities are disregarded, and all emphasis is put on "national security," sustainable global peace and security will not be achievable.


Nobel Peace Laureate, Jody Williams, Visits Swarthmore College
On Monday, September 28, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Jody Williams visited Swarthmore College to participate in a panel titled “Women in Peace and Conflict.” While at Swarthmore, she also visited Associate Professor of Sociology Lee Smithey’s Strategic Non-Violence Struggles class and discussed her experiences as an activist.
PeaceJam Northwest to feature Nobelist Jody Williams
1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams — who earned the prize for her work establishing the International Campaign to Ban Landmines — will be at the University of Oregon on April 22-23 to headline the annual 2016 Northwest PeaceJam Conference.
Machines can't make life & death decisions: Nobel laureate Jody Williams on new-age weapons
Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 together with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines for their central role in establishing the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The US-based political activist is known across the world for her efforts to enhance understandings of security and related issues in the world today. She is also the chair of the Noble Women’s Initiative that she founded in 2006 together with five other women Nobel Peace laureates.

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