Call For Nominations - 2019 Undergraduate Human Rights Awards

Each spring, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies celebrates the tremendous work of University of Minnesota - Twin Cities undergraduate students in human rights by presenting the Inna Meiman Human Rights Award and the Sullivan Ballou Award.

Inna Meiman Award

Given in recognition of the friendship between Inna Meiman, a Soviet era Jewish refusenik who was repeatedly denied a visa to seek medical treatment, and Lisa Paul, a graduate of the University of Minnesota who fought tirelessly on her behalf, including a 25-day hunger strike that galvanized a movement for Inna's freedom. The friendship between Lisa Paul and Inna Meiman is memorialized in the book, Swimming in the Daylight: An American Student, a Soviet-Jewish Dissident, and the Gift of Hope. The award of $1000 is intended to recognize a University of Minnesota - Twin Cities student who embodies a commitment to human rights.

Sullivan Ballou Award

Supported by the Sullivan Ballou Fund and named after Major Sullivan Ballou, an Army soldier killed at the First Battle of Bull Run in the U.S. Civil War, this award honors Major Ballou's memory by recognizing a student who devotes heartfelt energy to promote human rights. The Sullivan Ballou Fund gives $1000 awards to celebrate and affirm people acting from the heart. They provide compassion, services, or advocacy to their local communities, the poor, homeless, children, victims of violence and mistreatment or the disabled. Some give of themselves to those around them through their art, their music, their words, or their presence.

What are the selection criteria?

  • The awards are open to all full-time undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. 
  • The student has demonstrated a personal commitment to the promotion and protection of international human rights through significant work on a human rights cause during their time as an undergraduate.  
  • Through their efforts, the student has raised the visibility of a particular human rights issue among the University community or the broader public.
  • The student has made a positive difference in the life of others, and has given voice to those who might not otherwise be heard.

How do I nominate someone/myself?

  • Nominators (faculty/staff/peers) should submit a letter of 750 words or less describing the human rights activities undertaken by the nominee during his/her time as a student at the U of M, a resume of the student nominated, as well a personal statement (750 words or less) by the nominated student.
  • Self-nominations (statement of 750 words or less) must be accompanied by a resume and a letter of recommendation from faculty, staff, or peer who can attest to the achievements of the student.
  • Nominations due Wednesday, March 27, 2019 to Rochelle Hammer via e-mail at Please put "Award Nomination" in the subject line of the e-mail.

The awards will be given out at an event in late April.


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