2012 nominations for Social Justice Prize open through Nov. 14

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell, IA 9/7/11

Grinnell College today announced the call for nominations for the 2012 Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize. This prize program, now in its second year, honors individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. Up to three $100,000 awards will be divided evenly, with half going to the individual(s) and half to the organization(s) committed to each winner’s area of social justice.

Last year’s winners of the Grinnell Prize, selected from more than 1,000 nominations from 66 countries, include Boris Bulayev, president, and Eric Glustrom, executive director, Educate! (shared award); James Kofi Annan, executive director, Challenging Heights; and Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, co-founder and director emeritus, Encounter. They will receive their awards on campus at the Social Justice Prize Symposium October 25-27.

Grinnell encourages entries for 2012 from across a wide range of fields, including science, medicine, the environment, humanities, business, economics, education, law, public policy, social services, religion and ethics, as well as projects that cross these boundaries. Nominations are also encouraged from areas that may not have been traditionally viewed as directly connected to social justice, such as the arts and business. Nominees may be U.S. citizens or nationals of other countries; no affiliation to Grinnell College is required.

A selection committee will evaluate the nominations based on how candidates have embraced the values of a liberal arts education, including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, free inquiry and commitment to using and sharing knowledge to better humanity. The selection committee will be chaired by George A. Drake, a 1956 graduate who served as Grinnell’s president from 1979 to 1991. Committee members are recognized individuals who work for social change in various capacities – largely Iowa-based – and represent the college’s faculty, student body, alumni, staff and trustees, plus prominent individuals not formally affiliated with Grinnell.

The Grinnell Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize program directly reflects the College’s historic mission to educate men and women “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.”

The idea for the Grinnell Prize originated with Grinnell’s president, Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., who began his tenure as the college’s thirteenth president in August, 2010. “Given the college’s longstanding belief in social justice as a core tenet of its liberal arts academic mission, I am proud to recognize and honor young individuals who embody our values and organizations that share our commitment to change the world,” said Kington. “With this award, we’re honoring those who practice what we teach. Our 2011 winners have made extraordinary contributions in the pursuit of positive social change, and I look forward to an even larger group of outstanding candidates for our 2012 Prize program.”

Nominations for the 2012 Prize are due by November 14, with winners to be announced at the beginning of the academic year in 2012. In the fall of 2012, the college will hold a special symposium on campus featuring public lectures by prize recipients regarding their experiences and perspectives in shaping innovative social change. Details of the program and its nomination process are available at www.grinnell.edu/socialjusticeprize.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations and pre-professional programs.