Bill Pace

Ashoka Fellow
New York, New York, United States
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Bill Pace was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Over the last two decades, Bill Pace has been at the forefront of the movement to ensure the citizen sector’s meaningful participation in global decision-making. In addition to his involvement in the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the UN Resolution on the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine in 2005, Bill’s vision is best exemplified by his relentless determination and leadership in the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 1995, when he learned that discussions at the UN General Assembly about an international criminal court were going nowhere, he founded the Coalition for an International Criminal Court (CICC), an international network that subsequently grew to over 2,500 organizations from all regions of the world and from all sectors of civil society.

From its inception, the CICC brought together citizen sector groups with differing, and sometimes competing, agendas and ideologies, and helped them work collaboratively to achieve a shared goal. One of the creative ways in which Bill facilitated these efforts was by inviting the legal advisors of the organizations to the Coalition rather than the Directors, thereby reducing posturing and one-upmanship between competing organizations. By establishing an international treaty process for peace, the CICC pioneered group entrepreneurship at the highest levels of global policymaking.

Bill Pace has created diverse global networks of governments, international NGOs and citizen sector experts at a time when strategic partnerships were rare and ineffectual. In order to do this, he had to overcome the objections of ambivalent, resistant and authoritarian governments. As he did so, Bill remained focused on his ultimate purpose: establishing new international mechanisms that make war less realistic and less possible.

Throughout his life, Bill’s journey has moved from a personal statement against the Vietnam War to legal and institutional mechanisms that surround war with international and national frameworks. Although humanity will never abolish war, Bill is working to ensure that it becomes much more costly and less destructive.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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