logo
CloseMenu
Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian and Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, became a judge after graduating from Tehran University Law School and passing the relevant qualifying exams. She soon progressed through the ranks and in 1975 became the first woman to preside over a court. In the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, all female judges were dismissed, and Shirin Ebadi was demoted to the position of a clerk in the very same court over which she once presided. Since she could not tolerate the situation any longer, she put in a request for early retirement. 

After her retirement request was granted, Dr. Ebadi applied for a license to practice law to continue serving in another capacity in the legal profession. But her request was not approved for seven years because she had published several critical articles. Finally, in 1992, she succeeded in obtaining a lawyer's license from the Central Bar Association. 

In her new profession, she focused on defending victims of human rights abuse, while simultaneously writing and publishing 14 books, including the Rights of the Child, the Rights of Women, and Tradition and Modernity in the Iranian legal system. Many of her books have been translated into and published in several languages. Shirin Ebadi also taught Urban Rights and Women's Rights at the universities of Tehran and Allameh Tabataba'i for six years. Along with her colleagues, she set up three NGOs in Iran, called Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child, Mine Clearing Collaboration Association, and Centre for Defenders of Human Rights. On the international front, in 2006 along with other female Nobel laureates, she founded the Nobel Women's Initiative, which is based in Canada.

Shirin Ebadi has won numerous awards, including the Leibniz Ring in Germany, Légion d'Honneur in France, and Scholars at Risk prize in Ireland. She is also honorary citizen of several world cities, including Paris and Genoa. Moreover, to date, Shirin Ebadi has received 26 honorary doctorates from various universities throughout the world, including the University of Cambridge (UK), Brown University (United States), and University of British Colombia (Canada).

Shirin Ebadi was first imprisoned in 1999 and again prosecuted in 2009 for criticizing the Islamic Republic. Security forces raided her office, and the government froze her bank accounts and seized her assets. Since then, she has been living outside Iran. In 2012, she established the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights in London through which she continues her activities towards advancing human rights in Iran and in Islamic countries.

 

THE AURORA PRIZE SELECTION COMMITTEE

Read more

Elie Wiesel (1928 – 2016)

First Co-Chair

President of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity; Nobel Laureate

Read more

Lord Ara Darzi

Chair

Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London

Read more

George Clooney

Honorary Co-Chair

Co-founder, The Sentry; Humanitarian, performer and film maker

Read more

Benjamin Ferencz

Honorary Co-Chair

Lawyer, Human Rights Activist

Read more

Shirin Ebadi

Member

Human Rights Lawyer and Iran's first female judge; Nobel Laureate

Read more

Leymah Gbowee

Member

Liberian peace activist and women’s rights advocate; Nobel Laureate

Read more

Vartan Gregorian (1934 - 2021)

Member

Co-founder, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York

Read more

Hina Jilani

Member

Former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders

Read more

Bernard Kouchner

Member

Co-founder, Médecins Sans Frontières; Former French Foreign Minister

Read more

Dele Olojede

Member

Journalist, Writer, Pulitzer Prize Winner

Read more

Paul Polman

Member

Co-founder and Chair, IMAGINE

Read more

John Prendergast

Member

Human Rights Activist and Co-founder, The Sentry

Read more

Mary Robinson

Member

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Former President of Ireland

Read more

Ernesto Zedillo

Member

Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; Former President of Mexico

Read more

Oscar Arias

Honorary Member

Two-time President of Costa Rica; Nobel Laureate

Read more

Valery Gergiev

Honorary Member

Artistic and General Director, Mariinsky Theatre; Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmoniker

Read more

Gareth Evans

Honorary Member

President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group; Former Australian Foreign Minister

Read more

Elie Wiesel (1928 – 2016)

First Co-Chair

President of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity; Nobel Laureate

Read more

Lord Ara Darzi

Chair

Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London