20 years ago: An SIT alumna’s world-changing work is recognized

October 10th, 2017   |   SIT

By Bea Fantini

It was Oct. 10, 1997, when Jack Wallace, founder and president of SIT, called me.

“Professora,” he said, “your student just got the Nobel Prize for Peace.” I immediately knew of whom he spoke. I called her at her home in Putney, and although she had reporters and photographers waiting on her front lawn and family and neighbors congratulating her, she took the time to answer my call. I was honored.

To know Jody Williams is a privilege. Jody was recognized for her work in banning land mines. The recognition was well deserved. Today, 20 years later, Jody is an activist fighting for peace, justice, and human rights. She is a passionate woman, so everything she does, she does with tenacity, unyielding integrity, and complete dedication to her cause.

Since I met her almost 30 years ago, Jody has been faithful to her aspirations and beliefs. In her personal life, she set high goals for herself and always acted with extreme dedication and determination. Jody was my student in Spanish while she was in the MA TESOL program, and today she is fluent in the language; giving talks and interviews to Spanish-speaking audiences – a clear example of her determination to communicate with people in their own language.

She travels the world talking to world leaders as well as groups of activists. Along with other Nobel Laurate women, she is part of the Nobel Women Initiative, a group focusing on peacemaking efforts and women causes.

Besides her lectures domestically and abroad, Jody has found time to write a book (My Name is Jody Williams), and co-author two others (Ingredients for Peace and After the Guns Fall Silent). In her personal life, Jody is quiet, pensive, witty, quick to react and, if you are close to her, she is quite funny.

Her fame has not affected her persona at all. She is an example and inspiration for young women who listen to her with awe and admiration, and she is a model for everyone interested in world peace.

When I saw her recently I was pleased to see the Jody I met so many years ago: determined, sincere, honest, direct, warm, and witty. She continues to do so much for humanity and to be an example for all of us to follow.

Congratulations, Jody, on this 20th year of your Nobel Prize.

Beatriz Fantini is an SIT professor emerita.