Jody Williams

Jody Williams has dedicated her life to achieving a global ban on antipersonnel landmines, which still claim thousands of innocent lives every year. In 1992, she launched the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), to end the production, trade, use and stockpiling of landmines, a weapon that has been in existence since the U.S. Civil War. Williams organized the ICBL to work with more than 1,000 NGOs in 60 countries. As the ICBL’s chief strategist, Williams has written and spoken widely on global problems involving the use of landmines. In 1996, Williams and the ICBL drafted the Ottawa Treaty with the Canadian government to ban landmines globally. To date, the Ottawa Treaty has been signed by 156 countries. Almost as noteworthy as the international support she created is how she built that support. In the years before the Internet, Williams created a network of hundreds of organizations with a system for accountability using fax machines. Through a simple system of sending out faxes to each constituent organization, Williams simultaneously made each organization feel they were an important part of the network and also created a system for maintaining a permanent record of their interactions.

This pioneering spirit also led to Williams’ key role creating The Nobel Women’s Initiative, an organization of female Nobel Peace Prize winners dedicated to supporting women’s rights around the world. Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work in banning and clearing anti-personnel mines.