The american professor and women’s rights activist recognized for her work to ban antipersonnel mines and cluster bombs, Jody Williams, and human rights activist for indigenous communities in her native country of Guatemala, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, will attend the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Both women will share their experiences as world leaders in reconciliation and peacebuilding as Colombia moves into a new era of peace.
Along with Williams and Menchú, 24 other personalities and organizations that have won the Nobel Peace Prize have confirmed attendance at the event, which will take place February 2-5, 2017 in Bogota.
The co-organizers of the event are the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and Bogotá Chamber of Commerce. With the election of this venue for the meeting, Bogotá will become the first Latin American City to receive the Summit since its creation in 1999.
Nobel Laureates to attend Summit
Jody Williams – United States
Nobel Peace Prize 1997
In the 1980’s Jody Williams became involved in relief work in El Salvador, a country devastated by war and U.S. interventionist foreign policy. Landmines were a constant threat to the civilian population and she was given responsibility for delivering artificial limbs to children who had lost their own.
Since 1991, Jody Williams has played an important role in launching an international campaign against landmines and anti-personnel mines. In 1997 thanks to her will and leadership, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) included 1,000 organizations from 60 countries and won the Nobel peace prize.
The Ottawa Convention, which was signed by 120 states and entered into force in 1999, will always be associated with the names of Jody Williams and the ICBL. This Convention prohibited the use, production, sale and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines. In addition, the agreement establishes rules related to de-mining and the obligation to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of such weapons.
Professor Williams has participated actively in the local debate on the use of antipersonnel mines, mainly because Colombia is the second country in the world in the use of this type of nonconventional weapon. The Nobel Peace Laureate has said in this regard that she is optimistic about the agility and effectiveness of the de-mining process to take place after the agreement signed with the FARC guerrilla group.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum - Guatemala
Nobel Peace Prize 1992
A human rights activist in Guatemala, Rigoberta Menchú Tum was born into a peasant family of the Mayan-K’iche’ Indigenous ethnic group. Her childhood and youth were marked by poverty, discrimination and repression as the Guatemalan ruling classes sought to suppress the aspirations of peasant farmers for social justice.
Several members of her family, including her mother, were tortured and killed. Her father died with a group of peasants who in 1980 locked themselves in the embassy of Spain in an act of protest, when the police set fire to the premises and burned alive those inside.
Travelling the world, Rigoberta initiated a peaceful campaign denouncing the Guatemalan regime and the systematic violation of human rights of Indigenous farmers. She herself personified the suffering of her people with remarkable dignity and intelligence, and has become a unique role model for Indigenous women throughout Latin America.