HR Distinguished Scholar Award

The Human Rights Section’s Distinguished Scholar Award recognizes an individual whose lifetime achievements in scholarship, teaching, and mentoring have made a significant impact on the field of human rights. The Award is accompanied by a one-year paid membership of ISA and Human Rights Section dues (see below). The award is given on a biennial basis.


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  1. Recipients of the award must be members of ISA and of the Human Rights Section at the time the award is presented at the ISA Annual Meeting. If the recipient is not a member of ISA and/or the Human Rights Section at the time the award is offered, the recipient may choose to apply the membership benefit of the award prior to presentation at the annual meeting. Recipients who are already members at the time the award is offered will be able to apply the Membership benefit the following year.
  • Recipients of the Human Rights Distinguished Scholarship will be recognized at the Section’s Business Meeting as well as the Section Reception at ISA. The Section will also organize a Distinguished Scholar Panel to recognize the recipient’s achievements.
  • Nominations by any member of the Human Rights Section are welcome
  • Nominations must include the following elements:
    • A statement (no more than two pages) outlining the scope of the nominee’s achievements in research and scholarship, teaching, and/or mentoring over the course of their career;
    • References and/or testimonials so the Committee may gather additional information in support of the award. These would also include suggestions for colleagues to participate on the Distinguished Scholar panel honoring the recipient’s work;
    • The nominee’s most recent CV.
    • This is a biennial award: the call for nominations is typically made in the Spring of even-numbered years, and the award given at the subsequent ISA Convention in odd-numbered years. Nominations may be sent in at any time. Nominations for 2022 should be directed via email to the Chair of the Distinguished Scholar Award Committee no later than May 15, 2022.


Congratulations to the 2021 recipient of the HR Distinguished Scholar Award, Beth Simmons! See the previous recipients below.


Year Recipient
2020 - 2021 Beth Simmons
2019 - 2020 Not Awarded
2018 - 2019 Kathryn Sikkink
2017 - 2018 Reza Afshari
2015 - 2016 Alison Brysk
2014 - 2015 Claude Welch
2013 - 2014 Rhoda E. Howard-Hassman
2012 - 2013 David P. Forsythe


Committee Members

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom | Chair
University of British Columbia

Beth Simmons | Member
University of Pennsylvania

Courtney Hillebrecht | Member
University of Nebraska

Award Chairs, please review dates to ensure deadlines are met.

Key Dates