Peace prize winners launch campaign against rape as a weapon of war. Read about the cause at: Ottawa Citizen
For many years it has been my privilege to visit Italy and work with Italian women. And I can say with complete honesty you are magnificent.
However, to see the way some of the women of Italy have allowed themselves to be treated these past few years breaks my heart. Beautiful women belittling themselves, becoming concubine to powerful, rich men who only defile and disgrace women.
It is also frightening to watch the effect this has had on Italian women’s rights. Rights that other women fought so hard for over this century. It degrades those women in every country worldwide who fought so hard for freedom. England’s Emily Parkhurst, America’s Rosa Parks, Guatemala’s Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Iran’s Shirin Ebadi and Burma’s Aung Sang Suu Kyi, not to mention one of the greatest freedom fighters, Gloria Steinhem.
When Laura Kiss, an Italian woman I love like a daughter, told me about your rally today, I was upset because I could not be with you. So I send this message from my heart.
Thank you. You are taking to the streets. You must protest until the men of Italy learn:
1. You are not a sex object.
2. You are as intelligent as any man.
3. You will be treated with the dignity you deserve.
And remember, my beloved sisters, whether one calls the creator God, Allah, Mohammed, Buddha or the Great White Chief, you were chosen to be the givers of life. You must be very special to have been given the job of creation. So protect those beautiful wombs because it really is a privilege to be called mother.
When a woman allows herself to be degraded or does not stand for equal rights or fight for justice, she degrades her mother.
I send you my full support and, with my hand over my heart, I stand with you.
Love & Peace,
Betty has just provided an updated blog. Check out the latest news at: Betty’s Blog
Thankfully Betty is not giving up her normal duties, she was at the Montreux Jazz Festival in September to receive an award from the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP). The award “Humanity in the Arts Peace Award” was given by festival founder and past ICAP award recipient Claude Nobs with co-president and jazz musician Herbie Hancock.
Read the full story on ICAP’s website at: ICAP News
We women Nobel Peace Laureates welcome our sister Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to her freedom from detention. For years she has been unjustly confined to her home and denied the opportunity to see her family and friends, to participate in politics and to live in freedom. Despite the efforts of the military regime in Burma to deny the people of Burma the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, her strength, vision and faith continued to guide them in their ongoing struggle for rights and democracy. Although she has not been able to meet with us and others around the world who are inspired by her courage, we have often recollected her words and her principles in the pursuit of building peace with justice and equality. We hope that we will soon have the opportunity to meet with her in person and until that time send her our best regards.
Betty Williams had the opportunity to listen to an amazing motivational speaker from Free The Children and Me to We – Spencer West.
Spencer was speaking at Indigo’s Yorkville store where he spoke about his ability and not disability to be a valued member of society and inspiring the youth of today to be change agents.
Spencer spoke candidly about the struggles he overcame after losing his legs at the age of five. He overcame stereotyping and bullying and decided to leave the materialistic world where he had a well paying job after he made a trip to Kenya where he saw the work of Free The Children to build schools in the Masai Mara.
Infused with humor and humility, his thought-provoking message is focused to inspire people to find opportunity in every challenge. With every speech, Spencer leaves an indelible mark on his audiences, instilling hope and strong leadership so that they can inspire others to create positive change.
When Spencer saw Betty walking in to hear his speech he couldn’t believe it:
“Betty Williams is one of my personal heroes and for her to show up at my speech was one the most memorable moments in my life. It was like Nelson Mandela walking in and sitting down. In 10 minutes with Betty I learned more about peace and life than I have in my 29 years. I will never forget it,” said Spencer.
After the presentation, Betty’s response to meeting Spencer was “Thank you. Thank you for bringing me to meet this wonderful human being and hear his amazing story.”
Please also see the photos in our Photo Gallery.
What does it take to be a Shameless Idealist? Take a twelve year old who read about the shooting of a young boy in Pakistan sold to a carpet factory owner and to a mother who saw the death of three innocent children; and you get two of the most extraordinary human beings talking about being change agents.
Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children had the opportunity to interview Betty Williams for a series aired on Canadian television called Shameless Idealist. Watch the interview broadcast on CTV in four segments.
Please also see the photos in our Photo Gallery.
Imagine being in a stadium with the energy from 18,000 enthusiastic young people. Those 18,000 enthusiastic young people are also change makers, and they are the generation we have been waiting for.
From across the Americas they filled the Air Canada Center on September 30th, 2010 for We Day and they were ready to “Be The Change.” We Day was created by Free The Children to celebrate the power of young people to make a positive change and was a day-long event that starts a year-long program for change called We Schools in Action.
Betty Williams was one of the activists asked to appear in Toronto together with an unmatched line-up of global leaders, social activists, cultural icons and entertainers to inspire young people to take action.
As a member of the We Day Peace Panel, Betty Williams joined Dr. Abuelaish and Michel Chikwanine to talk about a common thread that brought them together on this day of awakening; War and Conflict.
Dr. Abuelaish spoke about his three daughters dying in a bomb blast in Gaza and how it affected his life. Betty Williams spoke about how she saw the death of three children in Northern Ireland which led her to become the cofounder of Community of Peace People and help bring peace to the country. And Michel spoke about how as a young boy in the Congo he was enlisted as a child solider and made to kill his best friend.
All three speakers brought the reality of an unjust world to the 18,000 young people in the stadium and also to millions who watched the live broadcast. To see the broadcast, go to CTV to watch the We Day Peace Panel.
Please also see the photos in our Photo Gallery
Watch a video of the song Mario Frangoulis dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Click on the following link to see the song: Dalai Lama Center
Watch a recorded interview of Betty Williams with Mario Frangoulis. This was taken last year at the Vancouver Peace Summit.
Click on the following link to see the interview: Dalai Lama Center