Maria Butler

Executive Director

Maria has over 15 years’ experience in peace, human rights, and feminist organizing. Prior to the Nobel Women's Initiative, Maria served in several roles at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the oldest women’s peace organization in the world, where she worked from 2010 to 2022. Proud to serve as Deputy Secretary-General in WILPF, Maria advocated for peace in the halls of power and at UN and she provided co-leadership and management in the WILPF Secretariat. She will bring a feminist approach to addressing root causes of violence along with her commitment to centring care and compassion in how we work in this movement.

Maria holds positions on several Boards and Committees related to women’s rights and peace. She serves as a member of the Oversight Group of Ireland’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security appointed by the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2019 and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Human Rights at University College Dublin.  

Prior to working at WILPF, Maria worked for Mary Robinson at Realising Rights in New York and gained experience with various diplomatic, humanitarian and development organisations. She founded Grá (meaning love in Irish) a youth led initiative to mobilize resources and connect young Irish people with communities in rural Kenya in 2006.

Maria is the author of numerous publications including a chapter on “Women, Peace and Security and the Arms Trade Treaty” published in The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace, and Security.

Maria is an Attorney-at-Law and a member of the New York State Bar. She holds a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics.

Maria is passionate about promoting equality, dignity and peace.  She is a mother of two children, a native of Ireland, and currently lives outside Geneva. She describes herself as a learner, an advocate, and a passionate changemaker.