"Contagious Courage" How Betty Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize’’
Nobel Peace Laureate 1976
Princess Grace Irish Library
Monday 18 June 2018 at 18:30
Admission free. Reservations essential: firstname.lastname@example.org or +377 93 50 12 25
“To say that on a daily basis you can make a difference, well you can!
One act of kindness a day can do it.” — Betty Williams
BETTY WILLIAMS was born in 1943 in Belfast. Like many families in Northern Ireland, Betty’s family was touched by violence. Her Protestant grandfather was attacked because his son was marrying a Catholic woman. Her cousin Daniel was killed by Protestant extremists. Another cousin was killed by an IRA bomb. In Betty’s words: “The Protestants killed one of my cousins, and the Catholics killed the other.” In 1976, three innocent children were killed in a shooting in Belfast. Betty Williams, a housewife and secretary, witnessed the tragedy personally and decided that the decades of violence had to end.
She co-founded the Community of Peace People with Máiread Corrigan, the aunt of the three children killed. Betty became a grassroots activist who established local peace groups comprised of former opponents in the conflict. She organized a peace march to the children’s graves that 10,000 Protestant and Catholic women attended. The Irish Republican Army disrupted the peaceful walk, but 35,000 people marched with Williams and Corrigan the following week to protest violence in their country.
Betty Williams currently serves as the president of World Centers of Compassion for Children, whose mission is to provide a strong political voice for children in areas afflicted by war, hunger, social, economic or political upheaval. The WCCC is building their first “City of Compassion” in southern Italy. This city will be a safe haven for children who are most at risk to the horrors of war, hunger, disease and abuse. Betty has been a member of PeaceJam since 1996.