Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan are Awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize
Betty Williams (born 22 May 1943) was a co-recipient with Mairead Corrigan of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work as a cofounder of Community of Peace People, an organisation dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to The Troubles in Northern Ireland. She heads the Global Children's Foundation and is President of the World Centre of Compassion for Children International. She is also the Chair of Institute for Asian Democracy in Washington D.C. and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nova Southeastern University. In 2006, Williams was one of the founders of the Nobel Women's Initiative along with sister Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Six women representing North America and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa decided to bring together their experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. It is the goal of the Nobel Women's Initiative to help strengthen work being done in support of women's rights around the world.
Corrigan was born into a Roman Catholic family in Belfast, the second child of seven. She attended a Catholic school until the age of 14, then found a job as a secretary.
Corrigan became active with the peace movement after three children of her sister, Anne Maguire, were run over and killed by a car driven by Danny Lennon, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) man who was fatally shot by British troops while trying to make a getaway. Anne Maguire later committed suicide.
Betty Williams had witnessed the event, and soon after the two co-founded Women for Peace, which later became the Community for Peace People.
By the end of the month Williams and Corrigan brought 35,000 people onto the streets of Belfast petitioning for peace between the republican and loyalist factions. She believed the most effective way to end the violence was not violence but re-education.
A book about Williams and Corrigan.
However, the venture ultimately petered out due to in large part to objections from Catholics that the Peace People were focusing entirely on Republican violence and ignoring Loyalist and state violence by the British security forces.
She received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Betty Williams, in 1977 (the prize for 1976) for their efforts. At the age of 32, she is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to date.
In 1981 she married Jackie Maguire, who was the widower of her late sister, Anne. She has three stepchildren and two of her own, John and Luke.
In 1990 Corrigan was awarded the Pacem in Terris Award. It was named after a 1963 encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII that calls upon all people of good will to secure peace among all nations. Pacem in Terris is Latin for 'Peace on Earth.'
She is member of the Honorary board of the International Coalition for the Decade of the culture of Peace and Nonviolence.
In 2006, Corrigan was one of the founders of The Nobel Women's Initiative along with sister Nobel Peace Laureates Betty Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Six women representing North America and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa decided to bring together their experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. It is the goal of the Nobel Women's Initiative to help strengthen work being done in support of women's rights around the world.
She is a member of the pro-life group Consistent Life Ethic, which is against abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia.
In 2004 she went to Israel and welcomed Mordechai Vanunu upon his release from prison, where he had served an 18-year prison sentence for disclosing Israel's nuclear secrets.
On 20 April 2007, while participating in a protest against the construction of Israel's security fence outside the Arab setllement of Bil'in, the Israeli forces dispersed the protesters and Corrigan was hit by a rubber-coated bullet. Corrigan was also teargassed, and received medical treatment at an Israeli hospital.
On 30 June 2009, Corrigan was taken into custody by the Israeli military along with twenty others, including former U.S. Congress member Cynthia McKinney. She was on board a small ferry carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip when Israel intercepted the vessel in the coastal waters of Gaza, allegedly controlled by Israel. From an Israeli prison, she gave a lengthy interview with Democracy Now! using her cell phone, and was deported on 7 July 2009 to Dublin.
On October 9, 2009, Corrigan expressed disappointment with the choice of President Barack Obama as the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, stating, "[g]iving this award to the leader of the most militarized country in the world, which has taken the human family against its will to war, will be rightly seen by many people around the world as a reward for his country's aggression and domination."