Nonprofit law org. receives justice prize
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 00:09
The Center for Justice and International Law received the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights.
UConn awards the Dodd Prize biannually to an individual, group or organization that works to promote and advance human rights and justice both in the United States and abroad, which is exactly what CEJIL does.
According to its website, CEJIL is a non-governmental and nonprofit organization that uses international laws and legal means to protect and promote human rights in the Americas. CEJIL takes cases that cover a broad spectrum of issues, from violence against women to labor rights.
The prize consists of $75,000, a diploma and a bronze bust of Thomas J. Dodd. The person or organization can use the money in whatever way they wish.
The search for potential Dodd Prize recipients begins with a nomination process. The person or group cannot self-nominate.
The Dodd Prize Selection Committee then ranks and rates the nomination and recommends three to five nominees to the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center's Advisory Board, which then makes the final decision.
Although anyone can submit a nomination and the Dodd Center advertises throughout the country, CEJIL was nominated by Samuel Martinez, an associate professor of anthropology at UConn. Including CEJIL, there were 15 nominations.
According to Jean Nelson, the publicity marketing manager for the Dodd Center, selection criteria includes timeliness of the work, its appeal in the U.S. and internationally, if the organization could use the funding and if there is interest in the university community.
"They have done some amazing work in the field of human rights, which was primarily why they were chosen," Nelson said.
The idea for the Dodd Prize came about when the Dodd Center was built in 1995. Thomas J. Dodd is known for his career in public service and for devoting his life to fighting for human rights both domestically and internationally.
"There was interest in doing a prize or award for organizations doing human rights work," Nelson said. "It's a way for the Dodd Center to kind of acknowledge and further reward folks working in the field of human rights."
There was an endowment set up to fund the Dodd Prize in 1994. There were enough funds to begin awarding the Dodd Prize in 2003.
CEJIL is the fifth recipient of the award. Past winners include the Committee to Protect Journalists, Center for Justice & Accountability and Mental Disability Rights International, and Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Justice Richard J. Goldstone.
The award will be presented on Oct. 3 at the UConn School of Law in West Hartford.