Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

June 12, 2012 10:25 ET

Media Advisory/Photo Opportunity: Nobel Laureate to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Law Society

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2012) - The Law Society of Upper Canada will present a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), to world-renowned human rights activist and Nobel laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi, at its Call to the Bar ceremony in Toronto on June 15.

Dr. Ebadi's life and work exemplifies why the rule of law is so important. She became Iran's first female judge in 1969, after studying law in Tehran. As a result of the Islamic Revolution, she was removed from her position in 1979. Despite being threatened, harassed and imprisoned, she continued to provide leadership in the field of law and to promote democracy and human rights, particularly for women, children, refugees and political prisoners.

As part of its call ceremonies each year, the Law Society awards honorary doctorates to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. Recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the graduating classes as they begin their careers.

Law Society Treasurer Laurie H. Pawlitza will present the honorary LLD to Dr. Ebadi who will then deliver the keynote address to the new lawyers.

The Law Society will call 336 new lawyers to the Bar of Ontario at the June 15 ceremony. More than 1,300 new lawyers are being called at the five Call to the Bar ceremonies held throughout Ontario in June.

Dr. Ebadi's biography is attached.

When: Friday, June 15, 2012
9 a.m.
Where: Roy Thomson Hall
60 Simcoe Street
Toronto, Ontario

Please note: Upon arrival, please check in at the media desk. On-site interviews and photos may be arranged in advance. Please confirm your attendance in advance.

Biography of Dr. Shirin Ebadi

Born in northwestern Iran in 1947, Dr. Shirin Ebadi studied law at Tehran University. She chose law as her profession at a time and in a culture that was very challenging for women in Iran. She received her law degree in 1968 and wrote the entrance exams for the Department of Justice. In 1969, she became the first female judge in Iran. She continued her education, and after receiving her LLM from Tehran University, she obtained her doctorate with honours in private law, in 1971.

In 1979, as a result of the Islamic Revolution, Dr. Ebadi and other women judges were removed from their positions on the Bench and given clerical duties, or were forced to resign. These dismissals came because of the new government's belief that women could not serve as judges.

For many years, her application for a lawyer's licence was turned down by the same judiciary in which she was once a member. During that time, Dr. Ebadi wrote several books and had many articles published in Iranian journals.

In 1992, she received her licence and opened her own law practice. She became a prominent lawyer representing dissidents accused by the regime, as well as victims of child abuse. She was imprisoned for her efforts. In 1995, she co-founded the Association for the Support of Children's Rights, and in 2001, co-founded the Human Rights Defenders Centre in Iran.

Dr. Ebadi was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her leadership in the field of law and for her tireless efforts to promote democracy and human rights, particularly for women, children, refugees and political prisoners. She was the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the prestigious award.

In 2006, her memoir, Iran Awakening: One Woman's Journey to Reclaim her Life and Country, was published and received international acclaim.

Dr. Ebadi left Iran in 2009. She continues to speak out about the repression of dissidents, women, religious minorities and others deemed a threat to the authorities in Iran. She attends conferences and lectures around the world, recently participating as the keynote speaker at the Michigan Institute of Technology.

She is recognized in Canada for her work on behalf of the family of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died following beatings and torture while in the custody of Iranian prison officials in Tehran.

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