Human rights advocate and United Nations official Juan E. Méndez will receive the 2015 Adlai Stevenson Award for career of service to the global community on December 10 at 4:30 PM in Bowl 2 of Robertson Hall at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs. The Princeton-Trenton Area chapter of the United Nations Association (UNA) will present the award in memory of former United Nations Ambassador and Princeton alumnus Adlai Stevenson II, following which Professor Mendez will give offer remarks. Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs is cosponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.
As the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Torture and other Degrading Punishment, Méndez advocated for the rights of detained migrants and their children. He also led fights to prevent genocide and reform prison practices around the world. In 1975, Professor Méndez was abducted and tortured by Argentina’s military government in response to his legal defense of political prisoners. Since his release in 1977 as an Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience,” he has been at the forefront of the struggle to protect human rights. In addition to his advocacy, he currently teaches human rights law at American University’s Washington College of Law.
“Professor Méndez has devoted his life and professional career to the creation of the modern international system of human rights law. His determination to confront government leaders and his voice of reason and compassion personify the United Nations ideals,” according to event organizer Jeremy Zullow, Princeton Class of 2017 and Advocacy Director of the Princeton-Trenton chapter. “Professor Mendez is a deserving and inspiring recipient of the Stevenson Award.”
Adlai Stevenson’s distinguished career included participation in the founding of the United Nations from 1944-47. He subsequently served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nation’s during President John Kennedy’s Administration, which included the Cuban Missile Crisis. Stevenson’s papers, including his work with the UN, are housed at Princeton’s Seely J. Mudd Archives. The Adlai E. Stevenson II Award is an award for a distinguished career of service to the international community, in the spirit of the ideals of the United Nations and its Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Previously the Stevenson Award was presented by the United Nations Association in locations other than Princeton, to: former National Endowment of the Humanities chair and Congressman James A. Leach, Professor Emeritus and former UN official M. Cherif Bassiouni, and humanitarian Jane Warner Dick. The award is now being presented for the first time by the Princeton-Trenton Area Chapter.
The Princeton-Trenton Area Chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) is the central New Jersey chapter of the UNA-USA for our area. The Princeton-Trenton Area Chapter aims to foster increase knowledge of the United Nations and to do so through area universities and secondary schools, including through Model UN. The UNA-USA is a membership organization dedicated to inform and mobilize Americans to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For 70 years UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation.