Betty Williams (born 22 May 1943) is a co-recipient with Mairead Corrigan of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work as a cofounder of Community of Peace People, an organisation dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to The Troubles in Northern Ireland. She heads the Global Children's Foundation and is the President of the World Centre of Compassion for Children International. She is also the Chair of Institute for Asian Democracy in Washington D.C. and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nova Southeastern University. In 2006, Williams was one of the founders of the Nobel Women's Initiative along with sister Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Six women representing North America and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa decided to bring together their experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. It is the goal of the Nobel Women's Initiative to help strengthen work being done in support of women's rights around the world.
Betty Williams was drawn into the public arena after witnessing the death of three children on 10 August 1976 when they were hit by a car whose driver, an IRA fugitive named Danny Lennon, was fatally shot by British authorities. Williams was driving in her car with one of her children when she heard gunfire. She turned the corner to her street and saw the three Maguire children and rushed to help. Their mother, Anne Maguire, who was with them, eventually committed suicide in 1980 after a failed attempt to start a new life in New Zealand.
Within two days of the tragic event, Williams had obtained 6,000 signatures on a petition for peace and gained media attention. Together with Mairead Corrigan, Anne Maguire's sister, she cofounded the Women for Peace which later, with co-founder Ciaran McKeown became The Community for Peace People.