Jody Williams

Dates: October 9, 1950 –

Known for: campaign to ban landmines

Occupation: peace activist, teacher

Organization: International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)


  • Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Master’s, International Relations, 1984)
  • School for International Training, Vermont (Master’s, Teaching Spanish and ESL, 1976)
  • University of Vermont (B.A., 1972)

About Jody Williams:

Jody Williams, who grew up in Brattleboro, Vermont, credits her empathy and orientation to protecting others to her childhood when it often fell to her to defend her deaf and schizophrenic older brother from bullies. She was an activist in the antiwar movement during the Vietnam war.

After an early career teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), where she traveled to Mexico and the United Kingdom, in 1981 Jody Williams began working against United States policy in Central America.

After geting a master’s degree in international relations, Jody Williams worked on the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project (1984-1986) and humanitarian relief for Medical Aid for El Salvador (1986-1992). In her work in Central America, she saw the effect of landmines.

Jody Williams began working in 1991 to create an effort to ban landmines, and helped create the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in 1992. She became the founding coordinator, and has been the leading spokesperson for that organization

as it has grown from a founding network of six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to more than 1400.

In 1997, the campaign gained public notice with the active support of Diana, Princess of Wales, shortly before her death. Later that year, the ICBL was successful in getting an international treaty to ban landmines signed by 125 nations, including most NATO members but not the United States.

In 1998, Jody Williams relinquished her coordination role within ICBL, remaining as Campaign Ambassador, and has pursued other projects to promote peace and human rights and to oppose war.

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