August 30, 2004

Nobel Peace Prize winner to visit SIUC next month

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- International human rights activist and1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Williams will present "Between Terror & Hope: The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Struggle for an Active Civil Society," at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 13, at the SIUC law school auditorium. Williams will also hold a workshop on promoting international law and global peace at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, in Student Center Ballroom B.Williams is the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, launched by six non-governmental organizations in October 1992. The organization now has more than 1,400 non-governmental organizations in 90 countries working for a global ban on antipersonnel landmines.

Both events are open to the public, and admission is free.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover both the Monday night lecture and the Tuesday morning workshop. An advisory on any additional media availability will be sent out when determined. For more information, contact Matt Baughman at the SIUC Public Policy Institute at 618/453-4009.

Jonathan D. Hill, chair of SIUC's Anthropology Department, first met Williams at a conference in New Orleans in November 2002 where she was a featured speaker. He came away quite impressed with her work, and how "she is just an incredibly effective transnational activist." Hill inquired about whether she would be willing to visit SIUC and the Public Policy Institute, and Williams immediately agreed.

Public Policy Institute founder Paul Simon was enthusiastic about the possibility of Williams' visit. Interim Director Mike Lawrence also remained very interested after Simon's death in December, said Hill, whose department is among the sponsors of Williams' visit.

Prior to starting the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Williams worked for 11 years building awareness about U.S. policy toward Central America. That included developing and directing humanitarian relief projects, and serving for two years as co-coordinator of the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project and leading fact-finding delegations to the region.

The ICBL and Williams jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize. Working with governments, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the organization achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel land mines in September 1997. The United States, China and Russia have yet to sign the treaty.

Williams' work is in keeping with Simon's vision of the Public Policy Institute and Simon's legacy, said Development Director Matt Baughman.

"She obviously shows how one person can make a difference," he said. "She had this vision and began an international organization that ultimately led to some very serious and effective treaties and policies across many nations that lead to safer lives for people.

"One person can make a difference, and receiving the Nobel Prize for her work is just a tremendous affirmation that it is so important," he said.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.