Ms. Wilson was elated to be named spokeswoman for the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI), a non-government organization that establishes partnerships to raise money and awareness for landmine clearance projects across the globe, including Sri Lanka, Laos and Vietnam. When it was announced, Ralph L. Cwerman, president of the Humpty Dumpty Institute, called her “an original American icon” whose involvement will heighten attention to removal of these unexploded ordnances.
“HDI is privileged to have her as its new spokesperson,” Mr. Cwerman said. “Mine clearance and landmine awareness around the world will benefit greatly as Mary begins to speak out against these cruel weapons of war.”
In November 2007, Ms. Wilson traveled to Sri Lanka, where as many as 15 people are injured or killed every month by landmines. Her tour focused on clearing mines in northern Sri Lanka and regenerating the area’s dairy industry. Along with her seven-member band, Ms. Wilson gave a 90-minute concert, where she performed a medley of the Supremes’ greatest hits drawing diplomats, government officials and the news media to the dance floor. The proceeds from the concert were contributed to Sri Lankan charities assisting victims of landmines.
Ms. Wilson also has visited Laos, which received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve the quality of life of children who were not attending school because they were hungry or in danger of unexploded ordnances. While in Muangkhai Village, Laos, Ms. Wilson personally pushed the button to detonate more than two tons of explosives found in and around villages and schools. In late 2008, her plans include travel to Vietnam, Cambodia and Okinawa, as well as returning to Laos, to clear landmines still active from the Vietnam War, which ended more than three decades ago.