Sept. 8, 2008
The National Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs has named SMU's Professor Rick Halperin, director of the Human Rights Program in SMU's Dedman College, as this year's recipient of its National Faculty Award.
This prestigious and competitive award recognizes an outstanding faculty member who exemplifies the qualities of interdisciplinary, liberal learning, and who has participated significantly in teaching, mentoring, and advising students, as well as actively participated in other faculty service in a graduate liberal studies program.
Halperin, a longtime human rights advocate and member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, regularly leads groups on human rights educational journeys to places such as Cambodia, Rwanda, South Africa, El Salvador, Bosnia, and numerous Holocaust sites across Europe. Every December he takes a group to death camps and other Holocaust sites in Poland for two weeks.
Halperin was chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA from 1992-1993 and again from 2005-2007. He is also a member of the National Death Penalty Advisory Committee, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (serving as President from 2000-2006 and again in 2007-present).
He is a lecturer in SMU's Department of History in Dedman College and in SMU's Graduate Liberal Studies Program.
Halperin has been involved in such human rights monitoring projects as an Amnesty International delegation which investigated the conditions of the Terrell Unit (Texas death row facility) in Livingston, Texas. He also participated in a U.N. Human Rights delegation and inspected prison conditions in Dublin, Ireland, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a report by the Irish Prison Commission. In addition, he was a member of a human rights monitoring delegation in El Salvador in 1987.
In addition to his work against the death penalty, Halperin works with a variety of organizations which seek improvements in human rights on behalf of women, children, gays and lesbians, indigenous persons, survivors of torture, imprisoned political prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders, journalists, and healthcare professionals.
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