Betty Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 with Mairead Corrigan Maguire for their work to bring peace in Northern Ireland. She said, "The Nobel Peace Prize is not awarded for what one has done, but hopefully what one will do."
In the years since the award, Williams has devoted her life to creating a new way forward, a movement to begin a reversal of thinking on how we deal with the injustices, cruelty, and horror perpetrated on the world's children.
Williams has traveled the globe recording the testimonies of children who have been subjected to horrors beyond belief. In her travels, it became evident to Williams that to create the changes necessary and persuade governments to listen to the voices of their children, legislative changes to protect children must be implemented.
Aditionally, she learned that in every country where children are under the threat of death and destruction, safe areas must be created, areas off limits to any form of military attack.
In 1992, Williams founded the Global Children's Studies Center (WCCC). This evolved into founding World Centers of Compassion for Children International, of which she is president, in 1997, named in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The WCCC has established the City of Peace for Refugee Children in the region of Basilicata in southern Italy. That project is on land that the Italian government had planned as European nuclear waste dump. It hosts refugee families from war zones with the financial support of public and private partners.
Other honors and awards won by Williams include People’s Peace Prize of Norway, the Schweitzer Medallion for Courage, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Award, and the Frank Foundation Child Care International Oliver Award.