Human rights index wins Grawemeyer world order award

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An innovative framework designed to improve the ability of countries to expand human rights has won the 2019 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

    Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Terra Lawson-Remer and Susan Randolph were named co-winners for the ideas set forth in their book, “Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights.” The work, published in 2015 by Oxford University Press, offers a method for gauging how well nations are providing basic human rights of food, health, education, housing, work and social well-being to their citizens and suggests how they can advance such rights even further.

    Fukuda-Parr is a professor in The New School’s Graduate Programs in International Affairs. Lawson-Remer was recently a fellow in Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Randolph is an associate professor emerita of economics at the University of Connecticut.

    The trio used the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights as a basis for their work, creating a new tool, the Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment Index, to measure nations’ progress toward human rights goals. Their book also sheds light on policies that advance human rights and explains how use of these policies and public pressure can lead to results.

    Although the authors noted there has been steady progress in social and economic rights fulfillment over the past 30 years, they found that disparities still exist in every region of the world. Their measurement tool is aimed at helping governments and other organizations address those disparities.

    In 2016, the book won the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights Section Best Book Award.

    “All of our reviewers agreed this work can inform domestic and international policies, aid in the work of non-governmental organizations and provide a way to evaluate performance in a truly comparative perspective,” said Charles Ziegler, a University of Louisville political science professor who directs the world order award. “In short, the ideas expressed in this book can make a significant contribution to world order.”

    Recipients of the 2019 Grawemeyer Awards are being named this week pending formal approval by university trustees. The annual, $100,000 prizes reward outstanding ideas in music, world order, psychology, education and religion. Winners visit Louisville in April to accept their awards and give free talks on their winning ideas.

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