Nobel Peace Prize winner to speak at UA Sept. 20

Shirin Ebadi (Iran). / Photo: John Murphy

It’s not every day that a Nobel Peace Prize winner speaks in Fayetteville. It will happen this month, however.

Iranian human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi, who won the prize in 2003 for her work for women’s and children’s rights, will speak at the Fayetteville Town Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Ebadi’s talk is part of the University of Arkansas’ Distinguished Lecture Series, a student sponsored program that brings speakers to town each year. Past speakers include Bill Nye, W. Kamau Bell and NASA astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly.

Ebadi has had an interesting career. From her bio:

Shirin Ebadi was the first woman to serve as a judge in the Iranian legal system, but was removed from her position following the Iranian Revolution in 1979 because she was a woman. She was denied a license to practice law in her country until 1992, when she was finally able to start her own private practice.

Ebadi wrote The Rights of a Child, regarding Iranian law, in 1987, following it with The Rights of Refugees in 1993 and The Rights of Women in 2002. She cofounded the Iranian Association for Support of Children’s Rights in 1995 and the Human Rights Defense Centre in 2001. In her law practice she has handled many human rights cases.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 in recognition of “her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.”

Ebadi left Iran in 2009 after several years of harassment by government authorities. She currently lives in exile in London, but speaks frequently in the West, and is still an outspoken critic of Iran’s record on human rights. She remains a devout Muslim and an advocate for peaceful change in Iran.

The lecture will be free to attend and open to the public. No tickets are required.

For accommodations due to disability please contact the Office of Student Activities, [email protected], or call 479-575-5255.