Nobel Peace Prize Part of Doctor's Legacy

Old Geelong Collegian Dr Bill Williams (OGC 1972) was a co-founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

To recognise Bill's legacy, the College has asked his friend Bradley Fenner (OGC 1972) to put together a tribute:

Dr Bill Williams and ICAN

Bill Williams completed Year 12 at The Geelong College in 1975, when he was school vice-captain and a member of the Cricket 1st XI and Football 1st XVIII. He subsequently trained as a doctor and became a general practitioner, as his father and grandfather had been before him.

Bill's journey in life was to take him in different directions from many of his peers. Always a man of principle and conviction, Bill’s experiences as a young man travelling and working in developing countries led him to become a social activist. He worked as GP in Torquay, in between pursuing his various campaigns and projects, including, amongst other things, regular stints working in an Aboriginal community in central Australia.

He was involved in, and wrote about, social issues including gender, domestic violence, environmentalism, aboriginal issues and the campaign against nuclear weapons. Always, Bill's focus was solely on making this world a better place. In this, he retained the principles and ideals of youth, combined with a determination to make changes in the world and an understanding of what was required to do this.

Sadly, Bill died, unexpectedly but peacefully, in his sleep on 12 September 2016. Survived by partner Gisela, daughters Daisy and Lily, his mother, and four brothers who all attended The Geelong College, Bill has left a powerful legacy.

This was acknowledged most recently, when the organisation that Bill helped to found, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. The citation for the award recognised ICAN “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

In outlining the importance of ICAN’s work, Bill wrote:

We need a determined worldwide movement to outlaw and abolish nukes. To get there in this generation, we need to build the wave of public opinion into a mighty crescendo: a massive, surging, irresistible force which carries us all the way to absolutely zero nukes. Without it, even the most inspirational of leaders will falter along the way.

We are all fortunate, and the world is a better place, because throughout his life, Bill Williams was an inspirational leader who did not falter in pursuing his dreams and convictions.

Photo: Adam Dempsey

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