Gittler Prize to honor Martha Minow, legal scholar and social justice advocate


Credit: Phil Farnsworth Dean and Professor Martha Minow.

Brandeis University has selected Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, as the winner of the 2015-16 Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize. The Gittler Prize is presented annually to a person whose body of published work reflects scholarly excellence and makes a lasting contribution to racial, ethnic or religious relations.

Minow is one of the world’s leading figures in bringing legal ideas and scholarship to bear on issues of identity, race and equality, including innovative approaches to reconciliation among divided peoples.

“Martha Minow is not just a great scholar, but someone who knows how to apply her knowledge to make a difference in the world,” said Lisa Lynch, interim president of Brandeis. “Her work advocating for issues of social justice, civil rights, and education is vast, and her scholarship on these issues and the law is widely cited and impactful.”

Minow’s numerous scholarly works and books include “Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence,” a pathbreaking book offering pathways of hope for divided societies, and her 2010 volume “In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Constitutional Landmark. She worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to establish Imagine Co-existence, a program that promotes peace in post-conflict societies. She has also served on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, and partnered with the Department of Education and the Center for Applied Special Technology to increase curriculum access for students with disabilities.

Since 2009, Minow has served as a presidential appointee on the board of the Legal Services Corporation, a government-sponsored organization that provides civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. She also serves on the boards of directors for the MacArthur Foundation, the Covenant Foundation and other nonprofit organizations, and is the former chair of the board of Facing History and Ourselves.

Minow will be formally honored at a ceremony and reception at Brandeis on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, at which she will give a public lecture. In addition, she will meet with students, faculty and staff in smaller group settings.

The Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize was created in 2007 by the late Professor Joseph B. Gittler to recognize outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic and/or religious relations. It is named after Gittler and his mother, Toby. The Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Endowed Fund at Brandeis University supports this annual award that also includes a $25,000 prize and a medal.

Previous Gittler prizewinners include Gustavo Gutierrez (2014) and Patricia Hill Collins (2013). The prize is hosted by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life on behalf of the Office of the President of Brandeis University.