Gillian Caldwell
Exec. Director, Witness; Human Rights Advocate
01:16

Re: What inspires you?

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Working against unbeatable odds.


Gillian Caldwell

Gillian Caldwell is the Executive Director of WITNESS, an international human rights organization that provides training and support to local groups to use video in their human rights advocacy capaigns. Caldwell was a Co-Director of the Global Survival Network (now WildAid), where she coordinated the two-year undercover investigation into the trafficking of women in Russia that culminated in her 1997 film, Bought and Sold. She is the leader of the Witness to Truth video project in Sierra Leone that urges the government of Sierra Leone to implement TRC recommendations. Caldwell was the reipient of the 2000 Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership award and has been named one of 40 Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation, a 2003 Tech Laureate by the Tech Museum, and a Special Partner by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. Caldwell received her BA from Harvard University and her JD in human rights law from Georgetown University. Her videos have been shown as evidence in legal proceedings, such as the international war crimes investigation against Slobodan Milosevic, in the Sierra Leone Truth Commission proceedings, and at the UN. Ideas recorded on: 8/13/07

Transcript
Well I think for all of us who work at Witness and really in the Human Rights Movement more broadly, what most propels us forward are first of all, you know, the passion and commitment of people working at a local level face-to-face with really unbeatable . . . apparently unbeatable odds who remain committed, and who have the courage to do what they do; not just to risk their lives as they so often do, but to get up day after day and do it again notwithstanding those odds. So that’s extremely inspiring. And then I think, of course, if you aren’t winning a little every day; if you don’t see yourself making incremental progress towards that goal, it’s very demoralizing and very difficult to continue. And we do ourselves making progress, and it’s important to remind yourself and to remember to acknowledge progress as it’s happening just as, you know, you dig in deeper to go in further because it’s never enough.

Recorded on: 8/13/07


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