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The Amazing Women of #BillionActs

1st March 2017
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March is Women’s History Month, so we wanted to highlight the Amazing Women of Billion Acts!

 

Dawn Engle is the co-founder and executive director of the PeaceJam Foundation providing a programmatic vehicle to use to teach youth the art of peace through the mentorship of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates including the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, President Oscar Arias, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Betty Williams, President José Ramos-Horta, Aung San Suu Kyi, Sir Joseph Rotblat (Emeritus), Leymah Gbowee, Jody Williams, and Shirin Ebadi. To date, over one million young people from 39 countries around the world have participated in the year long, award-winning PeaceJam curricular program. Engle and her husband Ivan Suvanjieff have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize fifteen times, and has also directed the award-winning documentary films, Children of the Light, Rivers of Hope, and Daughter of the Maya which are the first three films in PeaceJam’s Nobel Legacy Film Series.


 

Betty Williams

Betty Williams (born 22 May 1943, Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a co-recipient with Mairead Corrigan of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work as a cofounder of Community of Peace People, an organisation dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Williams heads the Global Children’s Foundation and is the President of the World Centre of Compassion for Children International. She is also the Chair of Institute for Asian Democracy in Washington D.C. and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nova Southeastern University. She lectures widely on topics of peace, education, inter-cultural and inter-faith understanding, anti-extremism, and children’s rights.

Williams is a founding member of the Nobel Laureate Summit, which has taken place annually since 2000.  In 2006, Williams became a founder of the Nobel Women’s Initiative along with Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchu Tum. These six women representing North and South America, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, bring together their experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. It is the goal of the Nobel Women’s Initiative to help strengthen work being done in support of women’s rights around the world.


Rigoberta Menchú Tum (Spanish: [riɣoˈβerta menˈtʃu]; born 9 January 1959) is a K’iche’ political activist from Guatemala. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s indigenous feminists during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), and to promoting indigenous rights in the country.

She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and the Prince of Asturias Award in 1998. She is the subject of the testimonial biography I, Rigoberta Menchú (1983) and the author of the autobiographical work, Crossing Borders. Menchú is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She has also become a figure in indigenous political parties and ran for President of Guatemala in 2007 and 2011.


Mairead Maguire (born 27 January 1944), also known as Mairead Corrigan Maguire and formerly as Mairéad Corrigan, is a peace activist from Northern Ireland. She co-founded, with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, the Women for Peace, which later became the Community for Peace People, an organisation dedicated to encouraging a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.[7] Maguire and Williams were awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.

Jody Williams (born October 9, 1950) is an American political activist known around the world for her work in banning anti-personnel landmines, her defense of human rights (especially those of women), and her efforts to promote new understandings of security in today’s world. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work toward the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.

Shirin Ebadi (Persian: شيرين عبادى‎‎ Širin Ebādi; born 21 June 1947) is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women’s, children’s, and refugee rights. She was the first ever Iranian to receive the prize, and thousands greeted her at the airport when she returned from Paris after receiving the news that she had won the prize.

In 2009, Ebadi’s award was allegedly confiscated by Iranian authorities, though this was later denied by the Iranian government. If true, she would be the first person in the history of the Nobel Prize whose award has been forcibly seized by state authorities.

Ebadi lived in Tehran, but she has been in exile in the UK since June 2009 due to the increase in persecution of Iranian citizens who are critical of the current regime. In 2004, she was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the “100 most powerful women in the world”.She is also included in a published list of the “100 most influential women of all time.”


Leymah Roberta Gbowee (born 1 February 1972) is a Liberian peace activist responsible for leading a women’s peace movement, Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Her efforts to end the war, along with her collaborator Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, helped usher in a period of peace and enabled a free election in 2005 that Sirleaf won. She, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman, were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
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