Famous 20th Century Peace Activists

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Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Peace Activists

 1 
Julie Christie
(Film actress)

Julie Christie
9
Birthdate: April 14, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chabua, Assam, British India

 2 
George McGovern
(Politician)

George McGovern
4
Birthdate: July 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Avon, South Dakota, United States
Died: October 21, 2012

Historian George McGovern had been the U.S. senator from South Dakota. He held important positions related to food, agriculture, and nutrition, too, and was named a World Food Prize laureate for his efforts in reducing world hunger. He had also advocated for the end of the Vietnam War.

 3 

Samantha Smith
3
Birthdate: June 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Houlton, Maine, United States
Died: August 25, 1985

Samantha Smith was an American schoolgirl, child actress, and peace activist. She achieved popularity during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States of America; she visited the Soviet Union as a goodwill ambassador which attracted extensive media attention. She also took part in peacemaking activities in Japan before dying in an airplane crash at age 13.

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 4 
David Dellinger
(Activist)

David Dellinger
4
Birthdate: August 22, 1915
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wakefield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 25, 2004

David Dellinger was a pacifist and an activist who campaigned for nonviolent social change. Born into a wealthy family, he studied at Yale University and Oxford University. However, he ditched his privileged life and chose to live with poverty-stricken workers during the Great Depression. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and was imprisoned for his activities. 

 5 
Ron Kovic
(Anti-War Activist)

Ron Kovic
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ladysmith, Wisconsin, United States

 6 
Wangari Maathai
(Environmentalist & Women's Rights Activist The First African Woman to Receive 'Nobel Peace Prize')

Wangari Maathai
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ihithe, Kenya
Died: September 25, 2011

Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental, social, and political activist. She achieved popularity after becoming the first African woman to be honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. She is credited with founding a non-governmental organization called The Green Belt Movement (GBM), which focuses on women's rights and environmental conservation.

 7 
Yoko Ono
(Artist and Musician Who Was an Influential Practitioner of Conceptual & Performance Art)

Yoko Ono
0
Birthdate: February 18, 1933
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Yoko Ono is a Japanese multimedia artist, peace activist, and singer-songwriter. She came into prominence after marrying John Lennon of the Beatles. She is widely criticized for her unquestionable influence over John Lennon and his music. She is also often blamed for the disbandment of The Beatles. Despite all these criticisms, Yoko Ono continues to go on her merry way.

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 8 

Rachel Corrie
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Olympia, Washington, United States
Died: March 16, 2003

Crushed to death in Gaza by an Israeli armored bulldozer, peace activist Rachel Corrie was also a member of pro-Palestine International Solidarity Movement. Born and raised in USA, she had gone there as part of her college assignment and met her death while trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian houses by Israeli forces, causing international furore.

 9 

Samantha Smith
3
Birthdate: November 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States

Samantha Smith is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Mary Winchester in the dark fantasy drama TV series Supernatural. Thanks to her performance in Supernatural, Smith has been landing important roles in paranormal and science fiction films like Transformers and Stephanie.

 10 
Daniel Berrigan
(Peace activist, Theologian, Writer, University teacher)

Daniel Berrigan
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Virginia
Died: April 30, 2016

Daniel Berrigan was an American anti-war activist, Jesuit priest, Christian pacifist, author, poet, and playwright. Berrigan gained national attention for his protest against the Vietnam War, which landed him on the FBI's most-wanted list. He remained a popular anti-war activist throughout his life, co-founding an anti-nuclear weapons movement called the Plowshares movement in 1980.

 11 
E. P. Thompson
(Historian)

E. P. Thompson
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: August 28, 1993

British historian E. P. Thompson is best remembered for his iconic works such as The Making of the English Working Class. He was also a poet, a novelist, and a biographer. An anti-nuclear activist, too, he played a significant role in the formation of the New Left.  

 12 
Martti Ahtisaari
(Former President of Finland)

Martti Ahtisaari
3
Birthdate: June 23, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia)

Martti Ahtisaari is a Finnish politician who served as the tenth president of Finland; he was in office from 1994 to 2000. In 2008, he was honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for playing an important role in resolving long-lasting and serious conflicts, such as the ones in Namibia and Iraq. In 2008, he was also awarded the Delta Prize for Global Understanding.

 13 
Thich Nhat Hanh
(Buddhist monk and peace activist who has founded dozens of schools and universities and has published over 100 books.)

Thich Nhat Hanh
4
Birthdate: October 11, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Huế, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, French Indochina

 14 
Clara Zetkin
(Activist)

Clara Zetkin
3
Birthdate: July 5, 1857
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Königshain-Wiederau, Germany
Died: June 20, 1933

 15 
Cindy Sheehan
(Activist)

Cindy Sheehan
2
Birthdate: July 10, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Inglewood, California, U.S

Cindy Sheehan is an anti-war activist. Her son, US Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed by enemy action during the Iraq War in 2004. Following his death, she became a passionate anti-war activist and held an extended anti-war protest outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch. She is a member of the Peace and Freedom Party.  

 16 
Leymah Gbowee
(Peace activist)

Leymah Gbowee
2
Birthdate: February 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Monrovia, Liberia

Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist who played an important role in leading the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, a nonviolent peace movement. The movement played a significant role in ending the Second Liberian Civil War. In 2011, Gbowee shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Tawakkul Karman and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her work concerning women's rights.

 17 
Carl von Ossietzky
(Journalist & Pacifist)

Carl von Ossietzky
2
Birthdate: October 3, 1889
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: May 4, 1938
German journalist Carl von Ossietzky was part of the army during World War I. Later, through a series of articles in his magazine Weltbühne, he exposed the Reichswehr leaders’ secret rearmament plans. He was later tortured in a camp and forbidden to leave Germany to collect his Nobel Peace Prize.

 18 
Peace Pilgrim
(Peace activist)

Peace Pilgrim
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1908
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Egg Harbor City
Died: July 7, 1981

Peace Pilgrim was a spiritual teacher, mystic, pacifist, and peace activist. Born as Mildred Lisette Norman, she adopted the name  "Peace Pilgrim" and walked across USA for 28 years, spreading the message of peace. She has few possessions and no organizational backing. She was killed in an automobile accident while on her seventh cross-country journey.  

 19 
Betty Williams
(Activists)

Betty Williams
2
Birthdate: May 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belfast
Died: March 17, 2020

Betty Williams was a peace activist from Northern Ireland. She was the president of the World Centre of Compassion for Children International and headed the Global Children's Foundation. She and Mairead Corrigan were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976. She traveled the world and lectured on topics of peace, education, anti-extremism, inter-cultural and inter-faith understanding, and children's rights. 

 20 
Joseph Rotblat
(Physicist)

Joseph Rotblat
2
Birthdate: November 4, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 31, 2005

Joseph Rotblat was a physicist remembered for his work on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II. He left the laboratory on grounds of conscience and his work on nuclear fallout played a key role in the events preceding the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In 1995, Joseph Rotblat won the Nobel Peace Prize.

 21 
Michael Culver
(Actor, Film actor)

Michael Culver
2
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hampstead

 22 
Philip Berrigan
(Peace activist)

Philip Berrigan
2
Birthdate: October 5, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Two Harbors, Minnesota, United States
Died: December 6, 2002

Philip Berrigan was a peace activist and Catholic priest. He was active in the peace and nuclear disarmament movement and advocated for peaceful and nonviolent protests. He was affiliated with the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. He was married to a former nun and peace activist Elizabeth McAlister. The couple founded Jonah House, a faith-based community. 

 23 
Jody Williams
(Political & Peace Activist)

Jody Williams
2
Birthdate: October 9, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rutland, Vermont, United States

Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Jody Williams is known for his contribution to the formation of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. She has received 15 honorary degrees and was also named the Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year. She has also penned books such as After the Guns Fall Silent.

 24 
Mairead Maguire
(Peace Activist)

Mairead Maguire
2
Birthdate: January 27, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Belfast

Mairead Maguire is a peace activist from Northern Ireland. Along with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, she co-founded the Women for Peace (now known as Community for Peace People). Maguire and Williams received the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize. More recently, she was involved in discussions around the Rohingya crisis. She has also called for the abolition of all armies.

 25 
Jaime Garzón
(Comedian)

Jaime Garzón
1
Birthdate: October 24, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bogotá, Colombia
Died: August 13, 1999

 26 
Leyla Zana
(Politician)

Leyla Zana
1
Birthdate: May 3, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Silvan, Diyarbakır

 27 
Henri Bourassa
(Politician)

Henri Bourassa
1
Birthdate: September 1, 1868
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: August 31, 1952

Renowned Canadian journalist and politician Henri Bourassa is best remembered for founding the newspaper Le Devoir. Though a qualified lawyer, he made a name for himself by writing on political issues and also served as a member of the Canadian Parliament, as part of the Liberal Party of Canada.

 28 
Alec Reid
(Priest)

Alec Reid
1
Birthdate: August 5, 1931
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died: November 22, 2013

Also known as Padre of Peace, Catholic priest Alec Reid played a major role in the Northern Ireland peace process. He made headlines after being photographed performing the last rites of 2 British soldiers murdered by the IRA. Years later, it was discovered, he was then carrying papers for an ongoing peace settlement.

 29 
Toyohiko Kagawa
(Peace Activist)

Toyohiko Kagawa
1
Birthdate: July 10, 1888
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
Died: April 23, 1960

A Japanese Christian social reformer, Toyohiko Kagawa was educated at the Princeton Theological Seminary in the US and later spearheaded the Friends of Jesus band in Japan, encouraging compassion for the poor and women’s suffrage. His written work is preserved in the 24-volume Kagawa Toyohiko Zenshu.

 30 
Fenner Brockway
(Politician)

Fenner Brockway
1
Birthdate: November 1, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Calcutta, British India
Died: April 28, 1988

 31 
Eugen Drewermann
(Theologian)

Eugen Drewermann
1
Birthdate: June 20, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berghamen, Germany

 32 
Kushal Konwar
(Rebel, Activist)

Kushal Konwar
0
Birthdate: March 21, 1905
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sarupathar, Golaghat, Assam, India
Died: June 15, 1943

The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
2
Birthdate: June 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: April 12, 2006

The Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr. was a Christian clergyman and peace activist. A multi-talented person, Coffin took part in peace movements and the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s and 1970s. He was also a talented pianist, athlete, and CIA officer during his younger days. He was honored with prestigious awards, such as World War II Victory Medal. 

 34 

Mary Emma Woolley
1
Birthdate: July 13, 1863
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: South Norwalk, Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
Died: September 5, 1947

Mary Emma Woolley was a peace activist, educator, and women's suffrage supporter. The daughter of a socially conscious father, she inherited his values. She became the first woman student to attend Brown University and embarked on an academic career. She went on to serve as the 11th President of Mount Holyoke College.  

 35 

May Wright Sewall
1
Birthdate: May 27, 1844
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Greenfield, Wisconsin, United States
Died: July 22, 1920

May Wright Sewall was a social reformer committed to the causes of women's rights, education, and world peace. She was passionately involved in the woman's suffrage movement. Besides her work as a social reformer, she also founded the Girls' Classical School in Indianapolis along with her second husband. She was active in the American Peace Society in her later years. 

 36 
Zahra' Langhi
(Peace Activist)

Zahra' Langhi
0
Birthdate: January 28, 1975
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Libya

 37 
Salah Choudhury
(The editor of The Weekly Blitz)

Salah Choudhury
0
Birthdate: January 12, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sylhet

 38 
Fuki Kushida
(Activist)

Fuki Kushida
0
Birthdate: February 17, 1899
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yamaguchi, Japan
Died: February 5, 2001

Fuki Kushida was a Japanese women's rights activist who served as the first Secretary General of the Women's Democratic Club. She is also known for her association with the Federation of Japanese Women's Organizations where she served as the president. Also a peace activist, Kushida is remembered for leading protests against the establishment of the US military bases in Japan.