Agribusiness Fair Trade Individual Integrity Coalition of Immokalee Workers Indigenous Justice Social activism Economic systems Cycle of Violence Empathy Discrimination Civic values Property Family Farmer Parliamentarians Subjugation Microcredit Environment Modern Slavery Refugee Peace Values Conflict Resolution Peaceful Assembly Attivismo Sociale Giustizia Forgiveness Racism Police Brutality Demilitarization Factors of production Factory Farm National Identity Dialogue Farmworker Free Movement Lawsuit Personal Security Exploitation Children's Rights Labor Freedom from Violence Individual responsibility Racial profiling Power Religious Freedom Non-violence Equality China Choice Caste System Government Change Torture Police misconduct Social Movements Political Freedom Migrant Labor Accord Civil rights Boycott
Protection from Landmines
Jody Williams has dedicated her life to achieving a global ban on antipersonnel landmines, which still claim thousands of innocent lives every year. In 1992, she launched the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), to end to the production, trade, use and stockpiling of landmines, a weapon that has been in existence since the U.S. Civil War. Williams organized the ICBL to work with more than 1,000 NGO’s in 60 countries worldwide. As the ICBL’s chief strategist, Williams has written and spoken widely on the global problems involving the use of landmines. In 1996, Williams and the ICBL drafted the Ottawa Treaty with the Canadian government to ban landmines globally. To date, the Ottawa Treaty has been signed by 156 countries. Almost as noteworthy as the international support she created is the way she built that support. In the years before the Internet, Williams created a network of hundreds of organizations with a system for accountability through the use of fax machines. Through a simple system of sending faxes out to each constituent organization, Williams simultaneously made each organization feel they were an important part of the network and also created a system to maintain a permanent record of their interactions.
This pioneering spirit also led to Williams playing a key role in the creation of The Nobel Women’s Initiative, an organization of female Nobel Peace Prize winners dedicated to supporting women’s rights around the world. Williams received the Nobel Peace prize in 1997 for her work in the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.
Free Expression, Free Elections, and Democratic Reforms
Born to Russian peasants in 1931, Mikhail Gorbachev quickly ascended the ladder of power in the Soviet Union. In his youth, Gorbachev joined the Komsomol or “Youth Communist League” and drove a combine harvester at a state-run farm in his hometown. Local party officials recognized his promise and sent him to law school at Moscow State University. At university, Gorbachev was an active Communist Party member and, by 1970, first secretary of the regional party committee. Only ten years later, Gorbachev had risen to the youngest full member of the Politburo, which was the highest executive committee in the Soviet Union.
In 1985, after two general secretaries of the Politburo died within a year of each other, the Party was looking for younger leadership. On March 11, 1985, the Politburo elected Mikhail Gorbachev general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. After his election, Gorbachev set about installing bold reforms. Domestically, he pushed the Soviet bureaucracy to be more efficient, to increase worker production and to rapidly modernize. When his reforms yielded few results, Gorbachev instituted more far-reaching reforms including glasnost, or “openness,” to encourage free expression and information, and perestroika, or “restructuring,” that encouraged democratic processes and free-market ideas to take hold in Soviet economic and political life. He also worked for warmer relations and new trade partners abroad.
In 1987, he and U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed an agreement calling for both sides to destroy all of their intermediate-range nuclear-tipped missiles. In 1989, he openly supported reformist groups in Eastern European Soviet-bloc countries and informed their communist leaders that in the event of a revolution, he would not intervene. As a result, reformist groups overthrew the communist regimes and Gorbachev began withdrawing Soviet troops. By the summer of 1990, he even agreed to a reunification of East and West Germany. As power quickly shifted to new political parties, Gorbachev dismantled large swaths of the political structure throughout the Soviet Union. On December 25, 1991, the day he resigned, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. In 1990, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his leading role in the peace process.