CORVALLIS - Jody Williams, whose passionate leadership of a global move to ban land mines resulted in the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, will lead more than a hundred high school students in workshops and service projects this Friday through Sunday, March 18-20, at Oregon State University.

She also will give a free public lecture on Friday in OSU's LaSells Stewart Center, titled "Individuals Can Make a Difference."

The weekend events are part of the international PeaceJam program, which uses Nobel Peace Prize laureates to encourage youth to become involved in volunteer activities focusing on peace and civil rights. After working with a Nobel laureate for the weekend, participating students often work with teachers, community leaders, mentors and PeaceJam volunteers on service projects.

"It's an inspiring program and this is one of first times PeaceJam has worked with a university to host one of the events," said Frank Ragulsky, director of OSU Student Media, which is coordinating the university's participation. PeaceJam was last held in the Northwest in 2004 in Vancouver, Wash.

A number of service projects are planned for the Corvallis community Saturday afternoon. They include:

  • Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department: Cleanup of Avery Park;
  • Heartland Humane Society: Working with pets, cleaning;
  • Vina Moses Center: Sorting and folding clothes and other materials for low-income and homeless adults and children;
  • Corvallis Environmental Center: A youth garden project at Sunset Park that includes preparing garden beds, planting early crops, and learning about community food needs;
  • Presbyterian Preschool and Child Care Center: Installation of a sand and water table that accommodates children with disabilities;
  • Benton County Hospice: Making flower pots to decorate rooms of Hospice patients.

    Ragulsky said participating students have studied the work of Jody Williams at their high schools as part of a social studies curriculum prior to coming to OSU. Some of the students also have worked with community organizations, including churches and service groups.

    Williams is the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was launched in 1992 by six non-governmental organizations. During the past 12 years, the effort has grown to include more than 1,000 organizations in 60-plus countries and Williams has been invited to serve as a technical adviser to the United Nations' Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.

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    Frank Ragulsky, 541-737-3374