RFK Center - Defending Human Rights In This World
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Awards (News)
RFK Center Announces 2012 Book & Journalism Award Winners

Author Kathryn Sikkink receives 2012 Book Award for analysis of international justice’s impact on world politics

Washington, D, May 7, 2012 -- The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights announced the winners of its annual book and journalism award winners.

Kathryn Sikkink will receive the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics. In the book, University of Minnesota Political Science Professor Sikkink makes a case for the systemic and long-term impacts of holding world leaders accountable for human rights abuses. She offers readers a history of human rights prosecution through three decades of steady acceleration, and presents a new understanding of the way these cases build upon one another to create a "cascade" effect with far-reaching influence on future human rights outcomes.

This year's Book Award attracted more than 90 nominations. The judges selected Sikkink's work, Ariel Dorfman's autobiography, Feeding on Dreams, and Richard Thompson Ford's Rights Gone Wrong as the top three finalists.

"Kathryn Sikkink, in The Justice Cascade, has provided readers with compelling evidence that the cause of human rights finally is taking hold in the international community. She documents a trend clearly demonstrating that tyrannical dictators who, in the past, murdered, brutalized, and imprisoned citizen-dissidents and political opponents with impunity, now more frequently face criminal prosecutions and punishment. The result: Justice, once routinely vagrant and still often delayed now finds both traction and viability," said John Seigenthaler, Chair of the 2012 Judges Panel. "The judges of the RFK Book Award unanimously found Sikkink's work is highly deserving of the award that bears the name of Robert F. Kennedy."

The 32nd annual RFK Book Award will be presented by Ethel Kennedy at a ceremony at The United States Institute of Peace, in Washington, DC, on Thursday, May 24, 2012, at 6:00 PM.

The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, which include prizes in student and professional categories. All honorees will receive a bust of Robert F. Kennedy and a cash stipend in recognition of their award. Over 250 entries were submitted and judged by over 50 media professionals.

This year's winning journalists, in eight professional and three student categories, are:

  • Domestic TV Winner: Crime After Crime by Yoav Potash from the OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network
  • International TV Winner: Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark by May Welsh, Hassan Mahfood & Jon Blair, Al Jazeera English
  • Radio Winner: Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families by Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters, NPR
  • International Photography: Broken Promise: Gold Mining in Peru's High Andes, The Los Angeles Times Magazine by Michael Robinson Chavez
  • Domestic Photography: A Lasting Toll by Katie Falkenberg, The Los Angeles Times
  • International Print Winner: China: Living Under the Yoke, by Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers
  • Domestic Print Winner: Imminent Danger by Meg Kissinger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Cartoon Winner: The Beginning of the American Fall and Code Green, by Stephanie McMillan, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  • College Print/Broadcast:  Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Stateless in the Dominican Republic, by the Cronkite Borderlands Initiative
  • High School Broadcast:  Cody High School, Jared Iler and Anna Reed
  • High School Print:  Davis Senior High School, A Light on Latinos, by Anna Sturla and Daniel Tutt

The distinguished panel of judges for the Book Award included chair John Seigenthaler, acclaimed journalist, editor, publisher, and former aide to Robert Kennedy, as well as Michele Norris, radio journalist, NPR host of All Things Considered, author Amanda Smith, Stetson Law School Professor, Robert D. Bickel and author, Senior Correspondent for ABC News and 2005 RFK book award winner, Jim Wooten.

A panel of 60 judges, all prominent media professionals, selected the winning Journalism Award entries.  The Grand Prize winner will be chosen from among the winners in each category by the RFK Journalism Committee, chaired by Margaret Engel, director of the Alicia Patterson Journalism Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports investigative journalists and photojournalists worldwide.

About The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
The RFK Center presents an annual award to the book that, in the words of Award Founder Arthur Schlesinger, "faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy, his concern for the poor and powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity." Past winners of the RFK Book Award include Vice President Al Gore, Congressman John Lewis, Taylor Branch, Toni Morrison, Jonathon Kozol, and Michael Lewis.

About The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards
The RFK Journalism Awards recognize outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy's dedication to human rights and social justice, and his belief in the power of individual action. Winning entries provide insights into the causes, conditions, and remedies of human rights violations and injustice, and critical analyses of the movements that foster positive global change.

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