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UConn Professor Recognized for “Improving World Order”


Dec. 4, 2018Susan Randolph

The Human Rights Institute is delighted to announce that the work of three economic and social rights scholars, including Gladstein Committee Member and Professor Emeritus in Economics, Susan Randolph, have been jointly recognized for the 2019 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award. She, along with colleagues Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (NYU) and Terra Lawson-Remer (Stanford), are co-winners for the award that recognizes outstanding contributions to world order. The prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Improving World Order honors those who take on issues of global concern and present ideas that inspire others and can lead to a more just and peaceful world. Previous winners of the Grawemeyer Award for Improving World Order include Mikhail Gorbachev, honored for his 1988 address to the United Nations which led to the effective end of the Cold War and paved the way for the democratization of Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics; Trita Parsi, for his work toward reducing tensions in the Middle East; and Dana Burde, for her work examining the influence foreign-backed funding for education has on war-torn countries and how such aid affects humanitarian and peace-building efforts.

The ideas introduced in Randolph, Fukuda-Parr and Lawson-Remer’s book continues through the Economic and Social Rights Empowerment Initiative, www.serfindex.org , targeted to scholars which provides internationally comparable data on countries’ economic and social right performance and links to relevant research identifying the policies and practices that advance economic and social rights, and the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, http://humanrightsmeasurement.org, which provides data visualization tools and data to better enable human rights advocates to identify critical human rights challenges and better hold governments to account. Shareen Hertel, co-director of the Research Program on Economic and Social Rights (with Susan Randolph) at the UConn Human Rights Institute, notes: “The SERF Index has been foundational to quantitative analysis of economic rights. Scholars working across disciplines have used it to forge new tools for shaping policy and scholarship, driving more inclusive and dynamic approaches to economic development.” Randolph, Fukuda-Parr, and Lawson-Remer co-founded the Economic and Social Rights Empowerment Initiative, while Randolph co-founded and is the Economic and Social Rights Lead for the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI).

You can learn more about the recognition of these scholars’ work from the University of Louisville’s press release included below.

Human rights index wins Grawemeyer world order award

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 is 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.