This year, The Advocates will present Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi with the 2011 Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award. Dr. Ebadi, who was the first woman judge in Iran, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her courageous work supporting democracy and human rights.
Ms. Ebadi's human rights work in Iran began with the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when she was dismissed from her position and made a clerk in the same court she had once presided over. In 1992, after years of effort to receive a law license, she began a private law practice, taking child abuse cases; defending political dissidents, members of the minority Bahai faith, and journalists; and representing the families of people murdered by the government.
Dr. Ebadi is a co-founder of two human rights groups in Iran and has published many articles and books dedicated to human rights, focusing on women's rights, children's rights, and the rights of refugees. Her most recent book, Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope (2006), was a New York Times bestseller and is published in 16 languages. In response to her work, threats of violence against her and her family intensified in the years leading to 2008, when one of the organizations she co-founded was raided and closed by police. She left Iran on the eve of the 2009 presidential elections.
Currently living in exile in the United Kingdom, she continues her work advancing human rights in Iran as an internationally sought-after writer and lecturer.
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