for more information contact:
Lois Kleffman (859) 986-0868
for immediate release: Saturday May 10, 2008
CWWG DIRECTOR RECEIVES HONORARY DOCTORATE FROM
EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
Today, Craig Williams, Director of the Berea-based Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG) was honored by Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) for his internationally acclaimed efforts to ensure safe disposal of the U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons. Upon receiving his Honorary Doctorate of Humanities, Mr. Williams, who was the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for North America, gave the keynote address at EKU's afternoon Commencement Ceremony.
Mr. Williams, dubbed a "distinguished activist" in EKU media releases, spoke to the 2008 graduating class about the significant role activists have played in the world throughout history. He stressed the importance of standing up for what is just and not settle for the way things are. "What all activists have in common," he said, "is that they are willing, against tremendous, sometimes life-threatening odds, to stand up for what they think is right, choosing not the easy road, but the more righteous and equal road."
Mr. Williams advised the students that as they leave the sheltered and privileged life of the university and begin their journey into the real world, they should not "shy away from working to make things better just because the odds against succeeding seem overwhelming."
His own dedicated activism, along with the efforts of other activists, has resulted in some remarkable results over the years. He was co-founder of an organization that received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on banning land mines and establishing rehabilitation clinics for victims in over a dozen countries.
Locally, he spearheaded a grassroots movement to oppose the Pentagon's reckless decision to burn the stockpile of chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot. Although up against the largest bureaucracy in the world, the community, with the leadership of Mr. Williams, succeeded in getting the Pentagon to change course and destroy the weapons in a protective and ecologically sound manner. "Against incredible odds, we won," he commented.
In closing, Mr. Williams urged the students to find the activists within themselves, to deviate from the structured path and follow their hearts. "Don't be afraid to take on injustice," he said. "You can make a difference. And if you allow yourself to become involved, you just might become a distinguished activist in the best and truest sense of the term."