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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listJul 17, 2010

ICAP Awards Betty Williams

100717ICAP-award.jpg Betty Williams receives the award from ICAP

The International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP) presented Betty Williams, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of World Centers of Compassion for Children International, with its Humanity in the Arts Peace Award at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on July 16.

Festival founder and past ICAP award recipient Claude Nobs joined ICAP co-president and jazz musician Herbie Hancock in presenting the award to Ms. Williams.

Expressing her appreciation to ICAP and its founder, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, Ms. Williams expressed her joy at receiving the award and vowed to work even harder to establish a safe world for children.

A former receptionist and mother of two, in 1976 Ms. Williams witnessed a child who was a victim of clashes between Protestant and Catholic paramilitary groups die in the arms of its mother.

In response, she collected more than 6,000 signatures urging the restoration of peace in her country and helped organize subsequent marches that united thousands of Catholics and Protestants--primarily women--around the cause of peace.

Through her foundation, World Centers of Compassion for Children International, Ms. Williams now focuses on creating a strong political voice for children who live in areas afflicted by war, poverty and political upheaval.

From July 2-17, ICAP debuted its new exhibition "Voices of Change--The Power of Youth" which recognizes young musicians who have made a difference in society through the power of the arts and music, including American musician Alicia Keys, Pakistani musician and UN Goodwill Ambassador Salman Ahmad and Nigerian musician Femi Anikulapo-Kuti.

Mr. Ikeda founded ICAP in 2002 to support the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). The committee--comprising professional artists from a wide array of disciplines, many of whom are internationally known and members of the SGI--supports humanistic nonviolence education for youth through dialogue and the unique power of the arts.

[Adapted from an article in the October 8, 2010, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of World Tribune]