Born 9 October 1950.
Ms. Jody Williams is the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which was formally launched by six nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in October of 1992. Ms. Williams has overseen the growth of the ICBL to more than 1,000 NGOs in more than sixty countries. She has served as the chief strategist and spokesperson for the campaign. Working in a unprecedented cooperative effort with governments, UN bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICBL achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during the diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997.
In her capacity as ICBL coordinator, she has written and spoken extensively on the problem of landmines and the movement to ban them. In recognition of her expertise on the issue, Ms. Williams was invited to serve as a technical adviser to the UN’s Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, led by Ms. Graca Machel, former first lady of Mozambique.
Prior to beginning the ICBL, Ms. Williams worked for eleven years to build public awareness about U.S. policy toward 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. 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 (ESL) in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Washington, D.C.
Ms. 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).
In her capacity as ICBL coordinator, she has written and spoken extensively on the problem of landmines and the movement to ban them. She has spoken in various fora, including at the United Nations, the European Parliament, and the Organization of African Unity. Ms. Williams co-authored a seminal study, based on two years of field research in four mine-affected countries, detailing the socioeconomic consequences of landmine contamination. She has written articles for journals produced by the United Nations and the ICRC, among others. Papers and publications include: After the Guns Fall Silent: The Enduring Legacy of Landmines, Shawn Roberts and Jody Williams, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1995. “Landmines and measures to eliminate them,” International Review of the Red Cross, July-August 1995. No. 307. “Landmines: Dealing with the Environmental Impact,” Environment Security, 1997, Vol. 1. No. 2. “Social Consequences of Widespread Use of Landmines,” Landmine Symposium, International Committee of the Red Cross, Montreux, Switzerland, April 1993. “The Protection of Children Against Landmines and Unexploded Ordinance,” Impact of Armed Conflict on Children: Report of the Expert Group of the Secretary-General, Ms. Graca Machel, A/51/306, 26 August 1996.
Their work and discoveries range from the Earth’s climate and our sense of touch to efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
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