Earlier in the day, Ebadi will appear at the Columbia Society of International Law’s annual Friedmann Conference in conversation with Professor Lori Damrosch. The conference will also feature two expert panel discussions on “Human Rights at Home: Implementing Human Rights through Domestic Legal Systems” and “Security, Sanctions, and Human Rights: The Iran Dilemma.”
Since 1975, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law has presented the Wolfgang Friedmann Memorial Award to a distinguished scholar or practitioner who has made outstanding contributions to the field of international law.
“We are thrilled to have as this year’s Friedmann Award recipient a Nobel Prize laureate with a distinguished background in both human rights theory and advocacy,” said P. Nicholas Kourides ’71, deputy general counsel of American International Group, Inc., and a member of the journal’s board of directors.
“Doctor Ebadi’s contributions to and promotion of human rights—particularly those of women and children—have been lauded by the international community,” Kourides added. “Her extensive scholarly and legal work, as well as her compelling personal narrative, truly embody the spirit of the Friedmann Award.”
Ebadi, born in Hamadan, Iran, became the country’s first female judge in 1970. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, she and other female judges were demoted to clerks. Rather than continue to perform clerical duties in a court she once ran, Ebadi resigned and established a pro bono legal practice. Eventually, her advocacy for women, children, and political dissidents attracted international attention, leading to her 2003 Nobel Peace Prize win for her dedication to justice. Ebadi continued to advocate for human rights in Iran until the regime confiscated her Nobel Prize in 2009, freezing her bank accounts and forcing her into exile. Today, she lectures and publishes widely on human rights from the United Kingdom.
The Wolfgang Friedmann award and the Friedmann Conference are given in memory of the Journal of Transnational Law’s founder, Columbia Law School Professor Wolfgang Friedmann. A native of Germany, Friedmann immigrated to the United States and taught at the Law School from 1955 until his death in 1972. He passionately advocated for a world order based on mutual respect among nations and is best known for his denunciations of the Nazi Party when he worked as a jurist in Germany in the early 1930s.
Former Friedmann award recipients have included George Mitchell, the former U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace; Sandra Day O’Connor, former associate justice of the United States Supreme Court; and Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former secretary-general of the United Nations.
Founded in 1961, the Journal is the second-oldest international law journal in the United States and has showcased the work of generations of international law scholars.
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