Greetings from SMU and the Embrey Human Rights Program!

It is my honor to announce that the Embrey Human Rights Program has established a human rights award entitled Triumph of the Spirit. This award is designed to recognize an individual whose life and efforts have been and are currently devoted to the defense, protection, and advocacy of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This award represents the interconnected spirit of humanitarians around the world and a shared longing to support all of humanity.
Because of your work and advocacy in the human rights community, I would like to ask you for assistance in identifying and nominating worthy candidates for this award.

There is no such thing as a lesser person.


Rick Halperin

Director, Embrey Human Rights Program


Call for Nominations

Please read the entire description before proceeding.

Southern Methodist University’s Embrey Human Rights Program (EHRP) is now accepting nominations for its 2014 Triumph of the Spirit Award. We invite organizations and individuals to take part in nominating an outstanding individual for this inaugural human rights honor.


The purpose of the Triumph of the Spirit Award is to support an individual who works to better the human condition by promoting or defending human rights. This award recognizes individual accomplishment but also serves as a beacon of hope to those fighting for human rights locally, nationally, and globally.

The Award

  • Recognizes outstanding achievement.
  • Enhances the recipient’s ability to continue his/her work.
  • Brings increased scrutiny to the crisis, region, or issue for which the recipient works.

Ceremony and Monetary Prize

The international award recipient will receive $25,000 and be honored at a ceremony in the fall of 2014. At this ceremony, a separate $5000 prize will be granted for human rights work being pursued in the Dallas region. Eligible nominees will automatically be considered for the regional award.

The award ceremony will be held in Dallas, Texas. The recipient must be present at the ceremony to collect the award. Travel arrangements will be made through the EHRP. We ask that the recipient be available to speak about human rights with students, faculty, and community members during the visit.

Nomination and Selection Process


Persons working non-violently to promote and protect the human rights of all are eligible for the Triumph of the Spirit Award. The EHRP is seeking nominations of human rights defenders who are addressing social justice/human rights issues locally, nationally, or globally.

Those working for social change within their country of origin and who have worked strategically and effectively to address serious human rights problems are given the highest priority. Often these human rights defenders are working against tremendous odds and at grave personal risk.


  • The nominee does not need to be widely known. Ordinary individuals are made extraordinary by circumstances and principles of championing widespread and meaningful change. Working locally or in obscurity requires great courage.
  • The nominee should have an established reputation for integrity, creativity, and commitment to human right principles as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and embody the mission of the EHRP.
  • The nominee must be an individual. Institutions, organizations and groups are not eligible.

Procedures for Nomination

  • Anyone can nominate a human rights defender for the Triumph of the Spirit Award.
  • There is no limit to the number of nominations an individual can make, but no self-nominations will be accepted.
  • Complete the entire nomination form.
  • Optional supporting materials: please include additional letters of recommendation, news stories, interviews, a CV, or any other information that can help the Selection Committee gain insight into the candidate. Electronic copies and internet links are especially welcome. Note that supporting materials will not be returned.

Materials may be submitted through the online form beginning on the following page, or by mail. The deadline for receipt of nominations is March 3rd, 2014. Nominations received after the deadline will not be considered.