Nobel Peace Prize Winner Jody Williams to Speak at UMass Amherst April 13

AMHERST, Mass. - Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams will speak at the University of Massachusetts Thurs., April 13 at 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall. Her talk - "Peace, Work, and the Role of Civil Society in the Post-Cold War World" - is part of the annual Lois E. Toko Class of ''56 Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public and will be followed by a public reception.

Williams is the founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which she established in 1992. She and ICBL jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for helping to draft an international treaty that would create a worldwide ban on landmines. Begun with the cooperation of only six non-governmental agencies, the ICBL is today affiliated with more than 1,000 organizations in more than 60 countries.

Prior to beginning the ICBL, Williams spent 11 years involved in building public awareness about U.S. policy toward Central America. From 1986 to 1992, she developed and directed humanitarian relief projects as the deputy director of the Los Angeles-based service agency Medical Aid for El Salvador. From 1984 to 1986, she was co-coordinator of the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project, where she led a number of fact-finding delegations to the region. Previous to her work with the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project, she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Washington, D.C.

In her talk, Williams will discuss how activist groups can function under the threat of violence, and how they can build grassroots and international coalitions. She will also focus on the ICBL''s continued fight to ban landmines. According to Williams, there are more than 100 million anti-personnel mines scattered over large areas of several continents, and these continue to cause death and injury to thousands each year.

The talk is part of the Lois E. Toko Class of ''56 Lecture Series, which sponsors annual talks on campus by distinguished women in public life. Previous speakers have included Madeline Kunin, former governor of Vermont; Ellen Story, state representative from Amherst; and Ellen Kornegay, chief executive officer for the South African president''s Office on the Status of Women.

Williams''s lecture is co-sponsored by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Graduate School, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, the School of Education, the women''s studies program, the Latin American studies program, and the department of political science at UMass, as well as the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies.

More information is available at www.nobel.se, or UMass women''s studies, 413/545-1922.