November 19, 2009

Activist and humanitarian Jody Williams

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, the founding coordinator and campaign ambassador of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, will give the talk, "An Individual's Impact on Social and Political Change," as part of the ongoing Bucknell Forum speaker series, "Global Leadership: Questions for the 21st Century."

Williams, a former teacher who was instrumental in creating a sweeping international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines, in 1997 became the 10th woman in history and the third American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, in Trout Auditorium at Bucknell University.

International treaty
Williams has overseen the growth of the ICBL to more than 1,300 non-governmental organizations in more than 85 countries and served as the chief strategist and spokesperson for the campaign. She and her organization orchestrated a cooperative effort with world governments, United Nations members and the International Committee of the Red Cross to develop the international treaty banning landmines. Most recently, Williams has established herself further as a leader focused on stopping the genocide in Darfur and fighting for women's rights around the world.

"We are delighted that Jody Williams has agreed to share her experiences with the Bucknell community," said Pete Mackey, chair of the Bucknell Forum Task Force and vice president for communications. "In this final semester of the global leadership series, we will hear from several leaders who have achieved success nationally and internationally representing their causes. Ms. Williams' leadership on the landmine issue, among other areas, is a vivid example of an individual confronting pressing global questions."

Williams continues to campaign against landmines and to push for the United Nations, the European Parliament and the Organization of African Unity to ban them. She co-authored a study, based on two years of field research in four countries, detailing the socio-economic consequences of landmine contamination.

Fighting for human rights
Williams in 2006 was among the six founders of The Nobel Women's Initiative, an effort to bring peace, justice and equality worldwide and to support women's rights. She also was the head of a high-level mission in 2007, reporting to the Human Rights Council on human rights issues in Darfur.

Before forming ICBL, Williams worked for 11 years to build public awareness about U.S. policy in Central America. From 1986 to 1992, she developed and directed humanitarian relief projects as the deputy director of the Los Angeles-based Medical Aid for El Salvador. Among the projects was a network of hospitals in 20 U.S. cities that donated medical care to Salvadoran children wounded in the war in that country.

Central America outreach
From 1984 to 1986, she was co-coordinator of the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project, leading fact-finding delegations to the region. Previously, she taught English as a Second Language in Mexico, the United Kingdom and Washington, D.C.

Williams has a master's degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., a master's degree in Teaching Spanish and ESL from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vt., and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Vermont.

Buckell Forum
"The Bucknell Forum: Global Leadership: Questions for the 21st Century"
is a national speakers series focused on major issues at the forefront of today's discourse. It features nationally renowned leaders, scholars, and commentators who examine these issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives and a diversity of viewpoints and provide a model for civil discourse.

The series continues in the spring with a talk by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Feb. 2 titled "Globalization and the New Economy: A New Vision for American Leadership and Strength."

Contact: Division of Communications



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