Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year. At that time, she became the 10th woman—and third American woman—in its almost 100-year history to receive the Prize. Since her protests of the Vietnam War, she has remained a lifelong advocate of freedom, self-determination, and human and civil rights.
Like others who have seen the ravages of war, she is an outspoken peace activist who struggles to reclaim the real meaning of peace—a concept that goes far beyond the absence of armed conflict and is defined by human security, not national security. Williams believes that working for peace is not for the faint of heart. It requires dogged persistence and a commitment to sustainable peace, built on environmental justice and meeting the basic needs of the majority of people on our planet.
Since January of 2006, Jody Williams has worked toward those ends through the Nobel Women's Initiative, which she chairs. Since 1998, Williams has also served as a Campaign Ambassador for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. She holds the Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professorship in Peace and Social Justice at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston, where she has taught since 2003. In academic year 2012–13, she became the inaugural Jane Addams Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Social Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.