By: Maria E. Luna Issue: Resource Management Section: Collaboration Close Up
Recognizing The Power Of Collaboration
Jody Williams appreciates being an ordinary person who collaborates with other people to do extraordinary things. She says it’s what makes change happen across the world. “One person doesn’t change the world—it takes a collaboration of people,” says Williams.
It is evident when looking at the change that took place at the Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School in Panama City, Florida. The school hosts students ages 18-22 with moderate to severe disabilities who work in their community to help elderly and other disabled people use public transportation and community services. Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School’s motto is, "The servers, not the served.” Over the years, the students have worked to advance the rights of people with disabilities around the world by advocating for accessibles and efficient public mass transit across Florida and around the globe. They are also doers of other PeaceJam Call to Action issues such as water and energy use. This PeaceJam chapter was recognized November 15, 2011 and awarded the Global Call to Action Challenge award presented to them by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Jody Williams.
Williams believes peace is found in people who have the courage to make a contribution resulting in a better world for everyone. “There is nothing magical about creating change in the world. It is using the power that each and every one of us has and choosing to use it to make a positive change—just like those kids do. They rock. War is glorified in this country as we know, but there is nothing glorious about war. Anybody who thinks that war is heroic, that war is glorious has not been in the middle of a war. People can act heroically in war—that is very different from what war itself is. And yet in this country we glorify it in our history books. I think back to when I was a kid in school and how I learned about the history of the United States of America and it was through wars. One of the things I adore about PeaceJam is it is one of the few concrete ways that show young people how to create peace. Peace is different and peace can be made in many different ways whether it’s helping in your community or the world,” Williams said.
Williams is a grassroots peace activist at heart. Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, (ICBL) were co-awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1997 for work in drawing up an international treaty banning landmines. The treaty was signed by 122 countries. Williams’ lifelong activist work covers civil rights, freedom and self-determination—all of which define human security. Williams gives the advice that working to provide human security takes persistence and commitment. Williams currently heads the Nobel Women's Initiative.