On November 16, Hunter, Andrea and their new assistant Dan Parziale attended a lecture by 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations, presented by the International Human Rights Program at UCLA Law School. Her lecture, entitled “Rape as a Crime Against Humanity & War Crime: Accountability & the International Criminal Court,” was a powerful expose on the prominence of rape in war zones and areas of low government oversight.
Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ban landmines. Since then, she has taken on countless projects, most recently chairing the Nobel Women’s Initiative which she established alongside other female Nobel winners. The purpose of the Women;s Initiative is to use the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize to magnify the power of women working around the world for peace, justice and equality. In 2007, Williams led a controversial High Level Mission on Darfur for the UN’s Human Rights Council and continues her work in Darfur. In 2004, Williams was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
One would think that a person with this many accomplishments might be a little aloof. Williams’ humility was only outmatched by her charisma and down-to-earth nature. It was a treat to hear a globally-renown humanitarian share her expertise so passionately and directly. Alongside Williams were Ana Deutsch, the co-founder and clinical director of the Program for Torture Victims, Shirin Ershadi, the co-chair and co-president of the International Criminal Court Alliance, and Lara Stemple, the director of graduate studies at the UCLA School of Law and Deputy Co-Director of the UC Global Health Institute’s Center of Expertise on Women’s Health and Empowerment.
Williams graciously spent time after the lecture to speak with Hunter and Andrea about their work with Aid Still Required and has asked to stay updated about the work ASR is doing. It is always inspiring to be around like minded people who are dedicating their lives to reshaping the world in which we live. Jody Williams is one of those people and the crowd that gathered at UCLA for her lecture were moved and enlivened by her energy, enthusiasm and optimism for a better future.