Each spring, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies celebrate the tremendous work of students in human rights with the Inna Meiman Award and the Sullivan Ballou Award. This year three University of Minnesota undergraduate students have been recognized for their accomplishments in promoting and protecting human rights. Melanie Paurus has been awarded the 4th Annual Inna Meiman Human Rights Award, while Joe Fifield and Anna Meteyer have been honored with the Sullivan Ballou Award.
The Inna Meiman Award is given in recognition of the friendship between Inna Meiman, a Soviet era Jewish refusenik who was repeatedly denied a visa to seek medical treatment, and Lisa Paul, a graduate of the University of Minnesota who fought tirelessly on her behalf, including a 25-day hunger strike that galvanized a movement for Inna's freedom. The award is intended to recognize a University of Minnesota student who embodies a commitment to human rights. As this year's recipient, Melanie Paurus will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The Sullivan Ballou Award is supported by the Sullivan Ballou Fund and is named after Major Sullivan Ballou, an Army soldier killed at the First Battle of Bull Run in the U.S. Civil War. The award honors Major Ballou's memory by recognizing a student who devotes heartfelt energy to promote human rights. The Sullivan Ballou Fund gives $1000 awards to celebrate and affirm people acting from the heart. They provide compassion, services, or advocacy to their local communities, the poor, homeless, children, victims of violence and mistreatment or the disabled.
Melanie, Joe and Anna embody the spirit with which these awards were created - recognizing a significant personal contribution to protecting human rights and the heartfelt energy that compels an advocate to take meaningful action.