JODY WILLIAMS Biography - Activists, Revolutionaries and other freedom fighters


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Name: Jody Williams                                                                   
Born: October 9, 1950                                                                 
Jody Williams (born October 9, 1950 in Brattleboro, Vermont) is an American           
teacher and aid worker who received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the       
campaign she led, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Williams       
first trained as a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL), receiving a BA     
from the University of Vermont in 1972 and a Master's degree in teaching Spanish     
and ESL from the School for International Training (also in Vermont) in 1974. In     
1984 she received a second M.A. in International Relations from the School of         
Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She taught ESL in         
Mexico, the United Kingdom, and finally Washington, D.C. before her first             
appointment in aid work, becoming a grocery worker of the "Nicaragua-Honduras         
Education Project" from 1984 to 1986. She then became deputy director of a Los       
Angeles-based charity, "Medical Aid for El Salvador", a position which she held       
until 1992 when she took up her position with the newly formed ICBL.                 
The organization ultimately achieved its goal in 1997 when an international           
treaty (Ottawa Treaty) banning antipersonnel landmines was signed in Ottawa in       
1997 (though some nations, notably the United States, China and Russia refrained).   
One broader aspect of Williams' work was her pioneering use of People Power:         
massively distributed collaboration in trans-national political action,               
initially via fax and eventually via email -- Williams' own explanation,             
Imagine trying to get hundreds of organizations ā€“ each one independent and         
working on many, many issues ā€“ to feel that each is a critical element of the       
development of a new movement. I wanted each to feel that what they had to say       
about campaign planning, thinking, programs, actions was important. So, instead       
of sending letters, Iā€™d send everyone faxes. People got in the habit of faxing     
back. This served two purposes ā€“ people would really have to think about what       
they were committing to doing before writing it down, and we have a permanent,       
written record of almost everything in the development of the campaign from day       
Williams continues to serve the ICBL as a campaign ambassador and editor of the       
organization's landmine report, and, since 2003, has held a faculty position of       
distinguished professor of social work and global justice at the University of       
Houston Graduate College of Social Work.                                             
She has written and spoken extensively about issues relating to landmines.           
She was the Head of Mission of the High-Level Mission dispatched by the Human         
Rights Council to report on the situation of human rights in Darfur and the           
needs of Sudan in this regard (established at the 4th special session of the         
Human Rights Council in decision S-4/101). The Mission issued its report on 7         
March 2007.