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Glamour Mag’s 2008 Women of the Year Includes UH’s Nobel Women’s Initiative

November 17, 2008 - Houston - International Human and Women’s Rights Organization Shares Honor with World Leaders, Athletes
The Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI), an international organization based at the University of Houston that advocates for human and women’s rights around the world, is included in Glamour Magazine’s 2008 Women of the Year list.

The listing, which includes Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Jane Goodall and Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, is the magazine’s annual spotlight of courageous and determined women who are making a difference in the world.

“This award is recognition of the role the Nobel Women’s Initiative plays in amplifying the work of the many individual women and groups around the world who are advancing the rights of women and contributing to sustainable peace,” said Professor Jody Williams. “We couldn’t do the work we do to support women in Iran, Burma, Darfur and other countries without the contribution of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.”

The NWI was established in 2006 by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire. The organization houses its U.S. office at the UH Graduate College of Social Work, where Williams also is a distinguished lecturer.

In the more than 100-year history of the Nobel Peace Prize, only 12 women have been bestowed the honor. The founders of the NWI say the honor also is a responsibility to promote peace.

“We believe peace is much more than the absence of armed conflict. Peace is the commitment to equality and justice; a democratic world free of physical, economical, cultural, political, religious, sexual and environmental violence and the constant three of these forms of violence against women, indeed against all of humanity,” according to their Web site.

To that end, the NWI has championed the human-rights struggles in Burma, war-torn Darfur and disarmament, including the banning of cluster munitions and nuclear weapons, and violence against women in the Middle East.

Much of organization’s work around the world is supported by UH students who work as interns in the Houston office. Since 2006, a dozen students have interned with the organization, researching and mobilizing around human rights issues, including organizing international gatherings of prominent activists and academics. In July and August 2008, students helped organize a delegation of high-profile women, including Williams, Maathai and well-known actress and activist Mia Farrow, to meet with women’s rights groups on the Thailand-Burma border and the Sudan.

“We are proud of our association with the Nobel Women’s Initiative and congratulate them on this honor,” Ira Colby, dean of the college, said. “With the NWI, our students live the college’s mission to advocate for innovative, collaborative, inclusive and humane policies and solutions that promote social, economic and political justice.”

For more information about the Nobel Women’s Initiative, visit For more information about the UH Graduate College of Social Work, visit