Embrey presents $30,000 in awards

Human Rights Program
(EHRP) recently announced the implementation of the
Triumph of the Spirit Award to recognize an individual who has and continues to
contribute significantly to the greater good and dedicate his or her life to
social justice and human rights issues on a local, national or global scale.

The winner will be announced by July 1 and awarded $25,000 at a ceremony in the fall of 2014, at which point a related award of $5,000 will be bestowed upon a human rights defender specifically in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

“The Triumph of the Spirit Award is meant to serve as a symbol of hope in the continued struggle for human rights,” said EHRP Director Rick Halperin in a press release for the award.

The Triumph of the Spirit Award is the manifestation of an almost eight year-long idea in the making. Since the EHRP’s naissance in 2006, Halperin wanted to design a premier award that would bring to light some of the most relevant and important human rights activism happening globally.

While the primary reward can be allocated to an individual in any location, the separate award for $5,000 will draw attention to human rights work being done on a more local scale.

Due to the fact that the award is indisputably substantial, it may be surprising to some that the funding was given to the EHRP in its entirety by an anonymous donor.

Bradley Klein, assistant director of the EHRP, personally feels that the donor’s generous donation reflects a genuine commitment to ameliorating the world on a global and local scale.

“The work of human rights is bigger than all of us, as the anonymity of this wonderful gift suggests,” Klein said.

The monetary component of the award will be presented to the recipients sans obligations — in other words, the money will be theirs for whatever they please, no strings attached.

However, because the recipients will have been selected carefully for their commitment to human rights and the greater good, Klein expressed that the EHRP imagines that most of the funds will go towards furthering the recipient’s continued work or be reinvested into the cause.

“What excites me most about the award is the opportunity to shed light on a global connection to dignity, truth and justice, as it is focused in the work of one person,” Klein said.

The committee for the Triumph of the Spirit Award has already been selected, and is comprised of 19 representatives chosen for their dedication to human rights work.

The committee members were drawn from the EHRP community and include SMU faculty, staff, administrators and alumni as well as community leaders and activists.

To qualify for the award, nominees must exemplify the missions of striving to better the world and achieve equal inalienable human rights that are outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Embrey Human Rights Program.

“The award is designed to celebrate the recipient’s established commitment to human rights and help her or him achieve even greater successes in the future,” Klein said.

The deadline to submit Triumph of the Spirit nominations is March 3. Details are available online at http://blog.smu.edu/humanrights/triumph-of-the-spirit-nominations/.

For more details about the Triumph of the Spirit Award, contact Bradley Klein, assistant director of the Embrey Human Rights Program, at 214-768-3241 or kleinb@smu.edu.

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