Shirin Ebadi

Nobel Peace Laureate (2003), civil rights activist and lecturer in law, University of Tehran
Event Speakers

Shirin Ebadi is a courageous and accomplished civil rights activist and lecturer in law at the University of Tehran. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her pioneering efforts to advance democracy and human rights—especially the rights of women and children—in post-revolutionary Iran. Among the most visible and prominent women in the Islamic world, Ebadi first achieved distinction in the mid-1970s as the first woman judge to preside over a legislative court in Iran. Nearly thirty years later, she became the first Iranian, the first Shia, and the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Prize. A supporter of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Ebadi nonetheless was stripped of her judgeship and of her license to practice law when conservative clerics prevailed in their interpretation of Islam as forbidding legal practice by women. Refusing to leave Iran, Ebadi raised a family and boldly fought for legal and human rights reform throughout the 1980s and, in 1992, succeeded in regaining her law license. A frequent defense counsel for Iranian liberals and dissidents and plaintiff's counsel for victims of civil and human rights abuses. Ebadi helped establish two non-governmental organizations in Iran, the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child (SPRC) and the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), and drafted the original text of a law against physical abuse of children, which was passed by the Iranian parliament in 2002. She is the author of numerous books and articles—including two recent works for Western audiences, Democracy, Human Rights, and Islam and a moving and illuminating personal account of her experience of the Iranian Revolution, Iran Awakening: One Woman's Journey to Reclaim her Life and Country.