José Ramos-Horta was born in Dili, East Timor, in 1949. Of his eleven brothers and sisters, four were killed by the Indonesian military, which invaded East Timor in 1975, resulting in the death of more than two hundred thousand people. Ramos-Horta worked as a journalist from 1969 to 1974, during which his prominent role in the political resistance forced him into exile in Mozambique for two years. He again left East Timor in 1975 to spend the next twenty-four years fighting for human rights and Timorese independence from abroad. Ramos-Horta shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo. An assassination attempt in 2008 left Ramos-Horta wounded by a gunshot.
Dr. Helen Caldicott, a leading antinuclear activist and physician, first alerted the Australian public to the potential health risks of fallout from French nuclear weapon testing in the South Pacific. After moving to America to practice medicine at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston and to teach pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, she revived Physicians for Social Responsibility to focus on the hazards of nuclear power and founded Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament. Caldicott is the author of several books; she was featured in the Oscar-winning film If You Love This Planet, which was declared political propaganda by the United States Department of Justice. Caldicott was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and received many awards for her work including the Lannan Foundation Prize for Cultural Freedom in 2003, and the inaugural Australian Peace Prize in 2006.
Sixty days after becoming White House press secretary in 1981, James Brady was shot by John Hinckley Jr. during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Since leaving the White House, he has worked to prevent handgun violence with his wife, Sarah, chair of Handgun Control, Inc., the nation’s largest citizens’ gun control lobbying organization. In 1993, President Clinton signed the “Brady Bill” into law, which requires a five-day wait and background check on all handgun purchases through licensed dealers. The law has prevented hundreds of thousands of previously convicted felons and mentally ill people from purchasing guns.
Retired General Lee Butler spent thirty-three years as an officer in the United States Air Force, attaining the rank of general in 1991. He served as commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command and commander in chief of the United States Strategic Command, where he was in charge of the air force and navy’s strategic nuclear arsenal. Butler attended the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Paris, where he received a master’s degree in international affairs. Butler is now president of the Second Chance Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing nuclear danger.