HLS Dean Martha Minow received the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse from the College Historical Society of Trinity College, Dublin at a ceremony on Nov. 13, 2012. The College Historical Society, popularly referred to as “The Hist,” is one of the world’s oldest undergraduate debating societies, established in 1770. It is “built on a belief that discourse and intellectualism are vital to the program of society.”
Minow received the award for her leadership in the area of human rights and her advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. Upon accepting the award, she gave a lecture on the question, “Should Child Soldiers be Forgiven?”
Previous recipients of the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Public Discourse include Iranian judge and civil rights activist Shirin Ebadi, Burmese politician and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, author, activist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, economist Jeffery Sachs, economist Joseph Stiglitz and former president of South Africa F.W. de Klerk.
The late Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was also a recipient. Upon receiving the medal, he stated, “I consider this occasion one of the greatest honors of my public life, as well as an opportunity to express myself in matters that I feel are vital to our time.”
Minow is the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of law and has taught at HLS since 1981. She is the author of many works on issues of justice including “In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Constitutional Landmark” (2010, Oxford University Press) most recently. Minow served on the on the Independent International Commission Kosovo, a program of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies and was appointed to the Legal Services Corporation by President Barack Obama in 2009.