Professor Jody Williams served as the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) until February 1998. Beginning in early 1992, with two non-governmental organizations and a staff of one, Williams oversaw ICBL’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 chief strategist and spokesperson for the ICBL during a diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997. During this conference, the ICBL dramatically achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.
Three weeks later, she and the ICBL were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At that time, Williams became the tenth woman – and third American woman – to receive this honor, in the almost 100-year history of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since February 1998, she has served as a Campaign Ambassador for the ICBL, speaking on its behalf all over the world.
Along with sister Laureate, Dr. Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Professor Williams took the lead in establishing the “Nobel Women’s Initiative,” which launched in January 2006. Bringing them together with sister Laureates Wangari Maathai of Kenya, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala and Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, the mission of the Nobel Women’s Initiative is to use the prestige and access afforded by the Nobel Peace Prize to spotlight and promote efforts of women’s rights activists, researchers and organizations working to advance peace, justice and equality for women. By helping to advance the cause of women, the Nobel Women’s Initiative advances all of humanity. The Nobel Women’s Initiative has an office at the Graduate College of Social Work and in Ottawa, Canada.
In February through March of 2007, Williams lead a High Level Mission on Darfur for the UN’s Human Rights Council. She presented the Mission’s hard-hitting report to the Council in March and is now actively involved in issues related to stopping the war in Darfur.
Since 2003, Williams has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Global Justice in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. In 2007, she was appointed the “Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professor in Peace and Social Justice.”
Professor 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, she was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. She has written articles for magazines and newspapers around the world, contributed various chapters to countless books, and co-authored a book on the landmine crisis. Her most recent book, edited with Steve Goose and Mary Wareham, analyzes the Mine Ban Treaty and its impact on other human security-related work. It is being published for release in March 2008.
Williams has a Master's Degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Washington, D.C., 1984), a Master's Degree in Teaching Spanish and ESL from the School for International Training, (Brattleboro, Vermont, 1976), and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Vermont (Burlington, Vermont, 1972).
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Ms. Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to eliminate antipersonnel landmines. One of only twelve woman in its more than one hundred and year history to be awarded the Peace Prize, she is the third woman from the US to be so honored. Among other recognitions, Williams has been awarded honorary doctorates from twelve universities and colleges in and outside the US.