Almost 30 years, I was asked to help on a project that mystified me. A Monsanto executive, Will Carpenter, who was leading what was then the company’s agricultural division, was speaking in Washington on chemical disarmament, and needed help organizing the material.
I knew next to nothing about chemical weapons or chemical disarmament. Will was way down in the weeds of the subject – I didn’t know anyone could know so much about it. He had been wrestling with the question of how nations could verify that weapons were not being produced, and he was considering an idea – that all of the regulatory reports filed in North America, Europe and other regions might get at this issue of verification.
As I worked with Will, I was amazed at the depth of his knowledge. But I was even more amazed at the passion he brought to the subject.
Last week, I read in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the organization that Will helped to create, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Will had spent a great part of his life making that organization happen, helping to raise awareness of the dangers of chemical weapons, and working to eliminate them. He also spent years – years – helping to negotiate the U.N. chemical weapons ban treaty.
I had helped him on one speech for a very short period of time. His dedication can be measured by his entire professional career, a career that lasted well after his retirement from the company.
Will Carpenter helped make the world a little better place. On Dec. 10, in Oslo, Norway, the world will have the opportunity to see his work recognized.