The Tough, Dangerous Job of Waging Peace

U-T San Diego -- In college, Ludmila Popovici rejected several modeling jobs. “Too shy,” she said.

She got over it. After earning her medical degree, Dr. Popovici became Moldova’s most outspoken crusader against torture, a barbed tool wielded by authorities in that Eastern European nation. The woman who shrank from fashion shows now risks imprisonment or worse. Fashion critics can be catty, but Moldovan authorities have real claws.

“They say they can do a lot of bad things to me,” Popovici admitted, “but what can I do? I have no choice, no choice.”

At the University of San Diego this week, Popovici’s story is met with sympathy and rueful smiles of recognition. The university is hosting a celebration of its Women PeaceMakers program, now in its 10th year of bringing to San Diego four activists who have devoted — and often risked — their lives to end the ethnic, religious or political violence wracking their nations. (Full Story