PeaceJam Southeast to host Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi will speak at Florida State University about her efforts to improve peace and human rights in the Middle East and around the world.

Ebadi's visit to campus is part of her work with PeaceJam, an international education program built around Nobel Peace Prize laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. The goal of PeaceJam is to inspire a new generation of leaders who will transform themselves, their local communities and the world. The Center for Leadership & Social Change serves as the headquarters for PeaceJam’s Southeast affiliate.

Ebadi will give a public talk on Friday, March 24 before spending the weekend with students from across the region for PeaceJam Southeast’s annual conference. Ebadi’s Friday evening talk begins at 6 p.m. at the Augustus B. Turnbull Conference Center and will be followed by a reception and book signing. This event is free and open to the public.

Ebadi will address students at the PeaceJam conference Saturday at 10:15 a.m. in the Oglesby Union Ballrooms and will stay for lunch with participating students afterward. At 2:15 p.m., approximately 150 students attending the PeaceJam Conference will participate in a Human Rights March from Oglesby Union, culminating in a rally at the FSU College of Law.  Ebadi will speak at the rally at approximately 3 p.m.

Ebadi was born in northwest Iran in 1947, moving to the capital city of Tehran at the age of 1. She made history in 1969 when she became Iran’s first female judge at 22. She was ultimately removed from office due to a change in Iranian government that led to women having more limited rights.

In 1992, Ebadi obtained a license to practice law, focusing her efforts on the unfair treatment of women and children. Her work gained the attention of the Iranian government, and she began to receive threats of imprisonment and death.

Her Center for Defenders of Human Rights was raided and shut down in 2008. She has since been living in exile in the United Kingdom but has not stopped working to improve the status of human rights worldwide.

Ebadi’s tireless efforts earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

— Charlie Andelman