Jody Williams is a Nobel Laureate who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her as the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. This podcast will discuss Williams’ involvement with the campaign, current landmine issues and Williams’ current projects.
Production Note: Due to recording in a public setting, external events have impacted the sound quality around the 8:00 minute mark. We have attempted to compensate in the above version but are also releasing an alternative version of that section for individuals who have difficulty hearing Jody’s voice.
Williams views the Ottawa treaty to ban land mines as a great success on many levels. The campaign quickly found government allies who would share the same goals and push the world to negotiate a treaty within one year and were able to accomplish the disarmament of landmines, a weapon that has been used for fighting worldwide. Williams also states that compliance with the treaty has been outstanding. She stresses the importance of international pressure and implementation and argues that it is people working together with a common cause and vision that change the world. One of the legacies of the Campaign to Ban Landmines was the framework for cooperation between NGOs, states and civil society. A variety of international campaigns have used the same model, including the Control Arms Campaign, Cluster Munitions Coalition and The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.
Chris Snyder, Chair of the Canadian Landmines Foundation is also featured in this podcast. He claims that the core areas of the treaty in regarding a halt of landmine production or trade have been successful and that millions of mines in stockpiles have been destroyed. The critical issue still remaining is that of mine clearance and victim assistance. This is particularly true for countries such as Afghanistan and Cambodia where the locations of mines are not well known and continue to pose a hidden danger to people.
The discussion continues with an examination of how states are so are caught up in the proliferation of weapons, militarization, war, and money that they are crossing moral and ethical lines with the invention of weapons like killer robots. Near the end of the podcast, Jodi briefly discusses her chairing of the Nobel Women’s Initiative which is supporting and promoting women’s organizations working for sustainable peace, justice, and equality.
Jody Williams, Background
From early 1992 until February 1998, Jody Williams served as the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Beginning with two non-governmental organizations and a staff of one, Jody Williams oversaw the Campaign’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 a chief strategist and spokesperson for the ICBL as it dramatically achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during a diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997. Prior to that work, Williams spent eleven years on various projects related to the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Since January of 2006, Williams has chaired the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Along with sister Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi of Iran, she took the lead in establishing the Nobel Women’s Initiative. They were joined at that time by sister Nobel Laureates Wangari Maathai (Kenya), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (Guatemala) and Betty Williams and Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland). The Initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and the influence and access of the women Nobel Laureates themselves to support and amplify the efforts of women around the world working for sustainable peace with justice and equality.
Williams is also a principal spokesperson for the Stop Killer Robots Campaign.
Her new memoir on life as a grassroots activist, My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize was released by the University of California Press in early 2013.
Read more here on the website for the Academic Council on the United Nations System.