A co-founder of the international human rights organization Global Exchange and the high-profile women’s peace group CODEPINK, Medea Benjamin has been a tireless advocate for social justice for more than 20 years. She has been described as “one of America’s most committed—and most effective—fighters for human rights” by Newsday and called “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times. In June of 2005, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize collectively, on behalf of the millions of anonymous women who promote peace worldwide.
In January 2002, Benjamin led a group of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11 to Afghanistan to meet people whose relatives were killed during the U.S. bombing campaign. The journey received so much attention that the U.S. government created a compensation fund for Afghan civilians harmed during the conflict. Benjamin also has led several fact-finding delegations to Iraq and helped establish the Baghdad-based Occupation Watch Center.
During the 1990s, Benjamin focused her efforts on tackling the problem of unfair trade as promoted by the World Trade Organization. Widely credited as the woman who brought Nike to its knees and helped place the issue of sweatshops on the national agenda, Benjamin was a key player in the campaign that won a $20 million settlement from 27 U.S. clothing retailers for the use of sweatshop labor in Saipan. She also pushed Starbucks and other companies to start carrying fair trade coffee.
A former economist and nutritionist with the United Nations and World Health Organization, Benjamin is the author/editor of eight books. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters.