Nobel Peace Prize Award for 1976 to 1977

About the Nobel Peace Prize Award from 1976 to 1977 including winners Williams and Amnesty International, their works, and history.


1976 Betty Williams (1943- ), Irish

Mairead Corrigan (1944- ), Irish

Work: Organized a movement called Peace People which seeks to end the Protestant-Catholic fighting in Northern Ireland

Nobel Laureates: Mrs. Williams was raised in Ulster, where a civil war has raged since 1949. A Roman Catholic married to a Protestant, she decided she'd had enough of the carnage when, in August of 1976, she saw three children accidentally killed by a car whose terrorist driver had been shot by a British soldier. Despite threats on her life, she organized peace marches and toured the U.S., appealing to Americans to stop sending money to the Irish combatants.

Miss Corrigan, a Roman Catholic from Belfast, Ulster, was the aunt of the three children whose deaths had been witnessed by Betty Williams. During a demonstration in Belfast a week later, Corrigan joined forces with Williams and began organizing peace marches throughout Ireland and England. She helped persuade Sen. Edward Kennedy and other prominent Irish-Americans to speak out against violence in Northern Ireland.

Nobel Lore: The two women launched their campaign six months after the Feb. 1 deadline for peace prize nominations in 1976; that year all 50 candidates were rejected and no award was given. Corrigan and Williams were the first women to win the peace prize since 1946, when a half share was won by an American pacifist, Emily Balch.

1977 Amnesty International (1961- ), London-based

Work: Sixteen years of efforts to win freedom for "prisoners of conscience," abolish torture and the death penalty, and fight "brutality and the internationalization of violence and terrorism"

Nobel Laureate: Amnesty International, a human-rights group founded by British attorney Peter Benenson, claims to be the world's largest organization of its kind. It has about 100,000 members in 78 countries who are working on 4,000 cases with an annual budget of $1.5 million. The symbol of Amnesty International is a lighted candle entwined by barbed wire. The group refuses to help any prisoner who has used or advocated violence. Of the world's 16,000 political prisoners whose plights were publicized by Amnesty International, 10,600 have since been released.

Nobel Lore: Amnesty International is the 10th organization to win the peace prize.

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