Nobel Prize winner gives address in Brattleboro

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(Host) The recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize was in Brattleboro Friday.

Putney native, Jody Williams — a graduate of the School for International Training — addressed a conference of international field workers at her alma mater. Williams won the Prize for coordinating an international campaign to ban and remove land mines. Now more than a thousand non-profit groups and ninety countries are working to eradicate land mines.

The campaign has been praised for turning a utopian vision into a reality. But Williams said there was nothing utopian about it.

(Williams) “I take great umbrage, in fact, at the idea that working for positive change is somehow fuzzy and warm and idealistic, and something that can only happen someday in a future better place. It isn’t. Working for positive change in the world, whether you’re working on gender issues, the environment, poverty, reduction — it’s not utopian. It is damn hard work every single day. It is clear headed, hard headed strategizing. It is clear headed, unemotional planning, clear headed, hard headed and unemotional follow-through to achieve steps toward the goal that you are aiming to achieve.”

(Host) Williams said her campaign has succeeded by providing evidence rather than emotional arguments about what land mines do.

It’s also followed through on its commitments. The campaign continues to accumulate achievements while monitoring what still needs to be done.

(Williams) “And we will not go away until the goals are really reached on the ground. Because after all, it’s about getting rid of the mines and helping the victims. We’ll still be there. And that makes all the difference in the world. You have to stay till the job is done. It’s not just about having a little success here and there and then going off to some other issue. Until most of the mines are out of the ground, until most of the countries in the world are part of our treaty and obey it, the job isn’t done.”

(Host) Williams said anyone can bring about positive change in the world. They just have to pick an issue, and get to work on it.

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