CORVALLIS, Ore. – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist who just joined the legal team of an Iranian-American journalist convicted of spying in Iran, will visit Oregon State University this weekend to participate in PeaceJam.
PeaceJam is an international education program that works with Nobel Prize laureates to engage youth in volunteerism and encourages them to work to transform themselves, their local communities and, ultimately, the world. More than 250 high school students and teachers from Oregon, Washington and California will attend the two-day conference at OSU that begins Friday, along with 50 OSU student mentors.
Ebadi also will present a free public lecture on Friday (April 24) beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom titled “The Rights for Women and Children Their Role as Leaders.”
This week Ebadi, who won the Nobel Prize in 2003, agreed to lead the defense for Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist now jailed in Iran. Saberi was sentenced over the weekend to eight years in prison after a one-day trial that was closed to the public, drawing sharp protests from the United States and others around the world.
Ebadi has joined the defense team at the request of Saberi’s family, according to CNN. An attorney, she heads the Center for Defenders of Human Rights in Iran. Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize for her leadership and advocacy for the rights of women and children in Iran.
This will be the fifth year OSU has hosted a PeaceJam event, according to Ann Robinson, a student media adviser at the university who coordinates the event. In addition to the appearance of Ebadi, the conference will be emceed by Rudy Ballas, a gang violence prevention specialist who first participated in a Rocky Mountain PeaceJam as a teenager and claims it changed the direction of his life.
“Rudy is an amazing inspiration to the youth,” said OSU’s Robinson. “Each year we have a chance to give young people global education and then we do everything in our power to feed their passion to create positive change in the world.
“This is our fifth PeaceJam – and our fifth Nobel laureate we’ve brought to OSU,” she added. “The high school and college students personally interact with the Nobel Prize recipient and while they are here they collectively will spend 600 hours in service to a dozen local non-profit organizations.”
This year’s community service projects will focus on the Global Call to Action, a movement inspired by the 12 Nobel Peace laureates who sit on the PeaceJam International board of directors. The Nobel laureates are asking youth to take leadership in eradicating global hunger, preserving the environment and leading the world to a time of peace and away from the devastation of war.
For more information, go online to http://oregonstate.edu/studentaffairs/peacejam/