FAQ: President Clinton, African Human Rights Group to Receive International Justice and Human Rights Award

President Bill Clinton and Tostan, a vital human rights organization operating in Africa, will be awarded the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights on Oct. 15 on UConn’s Storrs campus. President Clinton will give the keynote speech at the ceremony to be held at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Answers to questions about the selection process, prize, and the gift that made it possible are listed below.

What is the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights?

The prize is given, at UConn, biennially to a leader or group that has made a significant effort to advance the cause of international justice and human rights around the world.

Who is this year’s recipient?

This year’s prize is going to both President Bill Clinton and Tostan, an international human rights group based in Senegal which is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

What does the prize winner get?

A certificate, a commemorative bronze bust of Thomas J. Dodd, and $100,000. The $100,000 in prize money will all go to Tostan, not President Clinton.

Who will give the keynote speech at the ceremony?

President Clinton.

Is the UConn Foundation paying President Clinton to give the keynote speech?

No. President Clinton has agreed to give the speech for free.

Why are President Clinton and Tostan being recognized?

President Clinton is being recognized for changing the global conversation on human rights both during his presidency and afterward through his work with the Clinton Foundation. The prize committee was particularly inspired by the Clinton Global Initiative’s model of bringing together communities, individuals and organizations across sectors to create and implement innovative solutions to global challenges, including those that lead to more justice, equity, and dignity in the world.

Tostan is a non-governmental organization working to help to organize and empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and address significant human rights concerts, including those of women and girls in West Africa. Tostan is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Who pays the prize money?

The money comes from a gift from the foundation of the late John W. Kluge, a philanthropist and businessman. Kluge’s gift directed the University to establish an endowment for a prize, which is awarded by UConn’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The fund is administered by the UConn Foundation and, according to the terms of the gift agreement, cannot be used for any other purpose.

What is the selection process?

A committee representing the University, the National Advisory Board of the Dodd Research Center, and the broader human rights community choose the individual or group to receive the award based on nominations received from around the world.

Who else has won this award?

Past winners include Tony Blair, former prime minister of Great Britain; Bertie Ahern, former prime minister of Ireland; Louise Arbour, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Justice Richard J. Goldstone, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; and The Center for Justice & Accountability and Mental Disability Rights International.

Who is the Dodd prize named after?

The prize commemorates Thomas J. Dodd, who was the lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials and served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 to 1957, and U.S. Senator from 1959 to 1971. Dodd was a defender of justice and human rights in the U.S. and abroad throughout his career.