Jerry White (activist)

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Jerry White (born June 7, 1963) is the CEO of Global Impact Strategies Inc. and the Executive Co-Chair of Global Covenant Partners. He is known for leading high-impact campaigns including the historic International Campaign to Ban Landmines (which was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize). He co-founded Survivor Corps, formerly Landmine Survivors Network, the first international organization created by and for survivors to help victims of war rebuild their lives.[1]


In 1984, White lost his leg — and almost his life — in a landmine accident.[2] According to an interview he gave to the Israeli Channel 10,[3] he came to Israel to learn Hebrew as part of his studies of Judaism (though his roots are Irish Catholic). On one occasion he visited northern Israel with a few other American backpackers to follow the Biblical prophets' footsteps. When they reached the Banias River in the Golan Heights, they decided to go off the beaten track and set up their camp on a nearby hill, where White stepped on a landmine. He said they later learned that the hill was Tel Azaziat, a former battlefield in which many minefields had been laid during the 1960s. White said he was hospitalized in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, and despite having the possibility to receive good medical treatment in the United States, he decided to stay at Tel HaShomer until he was fully recovered and rehabilitated, because he was impressed with the center's methods of rehabilitating people with serious limb injuries.

Following this incident, White became a co-founder of Survivor Corps (together with Ken Rutherford). He led efforts to draft and enact human rights and humanitarian laws that promote and protect the rights of 650 million people with disabilities.[4]

White arranged for, and escorted, Diana, Princess of Wales, on her last humanitarian mission, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then spearheaded efforts to promote a mine-free Middle East with King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan. In 2010, White secured an unprecedented Knesset vote in Israel to clear old minefields, including the Baptism Site of Jesus on the Jordan River.

White has appeared and published extensively in the media; testified before the United States Congress and the United Nations; and received several awards in recognition of his humanitarian and human rights leadership, including: the Rumi Award for Interreligious Diplomacy in 2015; the Superior Honor Award from the U.S. State Department in 2014; the Roots of Peace Global Humanitarian Award in 2010; the first International UNA Humanitarian Prize from Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills in 2003; the 2001 Paul G. Hearne/American Association of People with Disabilities Leadership Award; the 2000 Mohammed Amin Humanitarian Award; Brown University's 2000 William Rogers Alumni Award; the Center for International Rehabilitation's Leadership Award in 1999. The 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.


White began his career at the Brookings Institution and Council on Foreign Relations where he served as a research assistant. He later became Assistant Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, an editor for the award-winning publication Risk Report, and in the late 1990s served on the Board of Directors of the Amputee Coalition of America. In these positions White campaigned against weapons of mass destruction via interviews and publications in newspapers and journals such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New Republic.

In 1997 White co-founded Landmine Survivors Network with Ken Rutherford, later Survivor Corps, which pioneered techniques in war victim assistance, providing tens of thousands of amputees with peer mentors, artificial limbs and job training. Survivor Corps brings conflict survivors together to promote reconciliation and rebuilding through community service projects. White and Rutherford's leadership in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines helped secure the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.[5]

Between 2010 and 2012 Jerry served as Executive Co-Chair of the Abraham Path Initiative with Founder William Ury. As a Senior Ashoka Fellow appointed in 2009, White has worked with hundreds of young leaders from over 60 countries.

In April 2012 White was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Partnerships and Learning at the US State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO). While at CSO, he was responsible for strategic planning for the Bureau, and he introduced advanced conflict analytics and agent-based modeling to develop data-driven strategies to counter the spread of extreme violence across the Middle East and North Africa.

After leaving the State Department in January 2015, Jerry founded founded Global Impact Strategies Inc. (GIS) and Global Covenant Partners (GCP). Global Impact Strategies is a startup that combines a scientific, data-driven approach with predictive algorithms to analyze domestic and international events to anticipate likely outcomes. GIS is primarily concerned with preventing disaster, protecting people, and preserving the planet. Global Covenant Partners is a small non-profit created to coordinate and facilitate a growing movement of religious actors, scholars, policymakers, and civil society organizations dedicated to preventing religion-related violence, protecting its targets, and rehabilitating its victims.

White is currently a Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia, a "University appointment reserved for distinguished professionals who have been recognized nationally or internationally for contributions to their field."[6] At UVA White teaches a popular course titled Religion, Violence and Strategy: How to Stop Killing in the Name of God?

I Will Not Be Broken[edit]

In May 2008, he published his book, I Will Not Be Broken: 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis,[7][8] containing a detailed account of his injury, his recovery and his work on the international campaign to ban landmines culminating in the founding of Landmine Survivors Network, later renamed Survivor Corps. The book has since been re-issued in paperback as Getting Up When Life Knocks You Down: 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis.


Jerry White used to live in the Mediterranean island of Malta[9] with his wife Kelly and four children.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a master’s of business administration from the University of Michigan, and an honorary doctorate from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In 2005 White delivered the commencement speech at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, where he had recently been awarded an MBA from the Ross School of Business. In May 2010 White delivered the commencement address at the Mendoza Graduate School of Business, University of Notre Dame.


  1. ^ Chet Cooper, "A Step Towards Awareness," Ability Magazine, Aug/Sep 2009.
  2. ^ Jerry White, I Will Not Be Broken, 2008, Chapter 2.
  3. ^ "London and Kirshenbaum", 18 July 2011
  4. ^ Cameron MA, Lawson RJ, Tomlin BW. To walk without fear : the global movement to ban landmines. Toronto ; New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Chapter 7, "The Role of the Landmine Survivors Network," pp. 99-117.
  5. ^ "Ottawa Treaty". 
  6. ^ "At U.Va., Nobel Peace Laureate Outlines Strategy to Combat Religion-Based Violence". UVA Today. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  7. ^ Chapter 1 of I Will Not Be Broken.
  8. ^ Chapter 2 of I Will Not Be Broken
  9. ^ "The mine that set off a mission", The Times of Malta, 27 September 2010.

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