Best Karma Balance to the Bush Library - 2006
Embrey Human Rights Education Program
With a $1 million grant from the Embrey Family Foundation, human rights activist and educator Dr. Rick Halperin fulfills his longtime dream to bring more attention and more students to the study of human rights. With this four-year grant, Halperin, recently elected to his third term as chair of Amnesty International USA, will offer new classes on the topic in SMU's Dedman College, invite human rights scholars to campus and take students abroad to see up-close where historic genocides were committed (he recently guided a group to Rwanda and will return to Poland in December for an annual pilgrimage to the sites of Nazi death camps). This year's winner of SMU's top teaching award, Halperin has a reputation as a tough but fair professor whose classes change hearts and minds (not an easy task in W-loving environs). "If students want a world without torture, terrorism, genocide and other human rights violations, they must be prepared to become both better-educated and active in the struggle for social justice and human decency," Halperin says. At a school expected to erect a multimillion-dollar library for a war-starting prez, it's good to see some bucks being used to teach peace.