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Williams, Betty

Williams, Betty, 1943–2020, Northern Irish peace activist, b. Belfast as Elizabeth Smyth. In Aug., 1976, Williams, a receptionist, witnessed the death of three children when a car driven by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorist went out of control after being fired on by British troops. She began publicly demonstrating for peace, joining forces with Mairéad Corrigan soon after the incident. The two created Women for Peace, later the Community of Peace People, a grass-roots movement of Catholics and Protestants dedicated to ending sectarian fighting in Northern Ireland. For their work they were awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize. Williams subsesquently left Peace People, which diminished in importance after the late 1970s, and worked as an advocate for international peace and other issues.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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