World Centers of Compassion for Children International is a non-profit organization founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams in March 1997. With the support of other Nobel Peace Laureates and Betty’s reputation for almost thirty years of peace work following receipt of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland, WCCC held a “Mothers of the Earth for World Peace” Summit in Vienna, Austria in June 1997.
The purpose of the Summit was to adopt the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the World’- Children. The Declaration was unanimously endorsed by the delegates, who included many First Ladies and representatives of children’s organizations worldwide.
World Centers of Compassion for Children International’s administrative office is based in Ireland. The organization has representatives around the globe, including Italy, Northern Ireland, Russia, Great Britain, New Zealand, etc.
When Mrs. Williams is asked why she works so hard to create a just and peaceful world for the children, her reply is simple, “It’s like eating Quaker oats, it’s the right thing to do.”
Every sane-thinking person in the world knows that no innocent children should suffer. Yet, each day upwards of 40,000 children die from hunger, while thousands more die in war and from preventable diseases. The time has come to begin holding governments responsible for such suffering. Whether the death of one child is caused by war, hunger, disease or abuse, it is one child too many. We must all, every single one, do the right thing.
Betty Williams (Founder) Nobel Peace Laureate
“The Nobel Peace Prize is not awarded for what one has done, but hopefully what one will do”. The words of Betty Williams who in 1976 along with Mairead Maguire was awarded the Prize for her work to bring peace in her native Northern Ireland.
In the thirty years since the award, Mrs. 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.
“I had no concept of the depth of the children’s suffering until witnessing their pain. Yet in a world that we know can feed itself upwards of 40,000 children die very day from conditions of malnutrition. Surely we must question why we are allowing this carnage to continue,” Mrs. Williams says.
“Thirty years in the field has convinced me of one thing, the obvious fact that there are no answers from the top down. Governments do not have the answers. Indeed quite the reversal. A lot of times they not only do not have the answers, they themselves are the problem. If we are committed to helping our world’s children, then we must begin to create solutions from the bottom up.”
Mrs. 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 Mrs. Williams that to create the changes necessary and persuade governments to listen to the voices of their children, legislative changes must be implemented (legislation to protect children). The other obvious fact is that 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.
Cities must be created; cities of compassion and peace, cities where children would be treated with the dignity, respect and love they deserve. Such cities would alleviate the huge refugee and orphan problems in many countries.
As a result of many years of work In Italy, World Centers of Compassion for Children International is building the first City of Compassion for children in south Italy in the Region Basilicata.
The Global Children’s Studies Center was founded by Mrs. Williams in 1992. This evolved into founding World Centers of Compassion for Children International in 1997, in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Awards and Honors
- Doctor of Laws, Yale University
- Schweitzer Medallion for Courage
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Award
- Eleanor Roosevelt Award
- Frank Foundation Child Assistance International award
- Rotary Club International “Paul Harris Fellowship”
- Together for Peace Foundation Peace Building Award
- Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Award
- Ischia Peace Award, Italy
- Soka Gakkai International Peace and Culture Award
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Sienna Heights College
- Doctor of Humanities, Mount Merry College
- The Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award, Old Dominion University
- Doctor of Laws, Beloit College
- The Max and Betty Walker Distinguished Speaker Series
- Doctor of Human Letters, The Monmouth College
- Certificate of Honor, Federation of World Peace and Love
- Humanity in the Arts Founders Award, International Committee of Artists for Peace
- Doctor of Laws, St. Norbert College
Currently Serves as President, World Centers of Compassion for Children International
- Chair of the Institute for Asian Democracy, Washington, D.C.
- Honorary Member of the Club of Budapest
- Honorary Member of the Global Vision for Peace
- Board of Trustees of Pax Natura
- Council of Honour, United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica
- Patron, International Peace Foundation, Vienna
- Founding Member, Alliance for the New Humanity
- Board of Directors, Adoption Options, Inc.
- International Advisory Board, Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Non-violence
- Honorary Member, World Wisdom Academy
- Advisory Board, Camfed International
- Dr. Daisaka Ikeda, President. Soka Gakkai International
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate
- President Mikhail Gorbachev, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Oscar Arias Sanchez, Nobel Peace Laureate
- President Lech Walesa, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Elie Weisel, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Adolpho Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate
- Lady Fiona Montagu of Beaulieu, Club of Budapest
- Madame Mariapia Fanfani, President and Founder, Together for Peace Foundation
- Giovanni Bianchi, Presidential Buro, Chamber of Deputies, Italy
- Dr. Deepak Chopra, Founder, Chopra Foundation
- Robert Muller, Former United Nations Under-Secretary
- Dr. Nina Kostina, President and Founder, Frank Foundation Child Assistance International
- Camelia Anwar Sadat, The Sadat Peace Foundation
- Avon Mattison, President, Pathways to Peace
- Ervin Laszlo, President, Club of Budapest
- Uwe Morawetz, Director, International Peace University
- Jean Houston, Author and Lecturer
- Hazel Henderson, Author, Economist, Futurist
- Francesco Mangozzi, CEO, Alitalia
- Scott Ritter, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Specialist
- Rajmohan Gandhi, Director, Center for Dialogue and Reconciliation