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Iran's Nobel Peace Prize winner to receive honorary degree from University of Toronto

By Jane Stirling

April 14, 2004 -- Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, will receive an honorary degree from the University of Toronto at a special convocation May 7.

Ebadi, who was awarded the peace prize in 2003 for her efforts for democracy and human rights, will also participate in a panel discussion on the topic of Are Human Rights Universal? on May 8 at U of T's Hart House Theatre.

Shirin Ebadi"Ms Ebadi is an inspiration for all those who struggle for human rights," says President Robert Birgeneau. "We are honoured that she will be at the University of Toronto to receive her degree and take part in a public event focused on an issue of such great importance."

Ebadi, born in 1947, received a law degree from the University of Tehran. From 1975 to 1979, she served as president of the city court of Tehran, one of the first female judges in Tehran. After the revolution in 1979, she was forced to resign. She now works as a lawyer and also teaches at the University of Tehran.

In her research and as an activist, she is known for promoting peaceful, democratic solutions to serious problems in society. She is well-known in Iran for defending the victims of attacks on freedom of speech and political freedom by the ruling conservatives in Iran. Ebadi is also an activist for refugee rights as well as those of women and children. She is the founder and leader of the Society for Protecting the Rights of Children in Iran.

The honorary degree ceremony Friday, May 7, is an invitation-only event. The panel discussion on Saturday, May 8, at 6 p.m. at Hart House Theatre is open to the public. Free tickets are available by calling 416-978-8668 or online at

The panel, presented by the Faculty of Arts and Science and PEN Canada, will include Haroon Siddiqui, PEN Canada president and editor emeritus of the Toronto Star, and Janice Stein, a professor of political science and director of the Munk Centre for International Studies who is also the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management and Negotiation.

Jane Stirling is the associate director of news services for the Department of Public Affairs.

CONTACT: U of T Public Affairs, ph: (416) 978-8638; e-mail:

... Payvand News - 4/15/04 ... --

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