Shirin Ebadi, JD, is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge, a human rights activist, and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran.
In 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's, children's, and refugee rights. She was the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and only the fifth Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in any field.
Ebadi was one of the first female judges in Iran. She served as president of the city court of Tehran from 1975 to 1979 and was the first Iranian woman to achieve chief justice status. She, along with other women judges, was dismissed from that position after the Islamic Revolution in February 1979. She was made a clerk in the court she had once presided over, until she petitioned for early retirement. After obtaining her lawyer’s license in 1992, Ebadi set up private practice. As a lawyer, Ebadi has taken on many controversial cases defending political dissidents and as a result has been arrested numerous times.
In addition to being an internationally recognized advocate of human rights, Ebadi has also established many non-governmental organizations in Iran, including those for protection of children, women, and political prisoners, as well as an organization dedicated to carrying out the Land Mine Treaty. She has published more than 70 articles and 12 books dedicated to various aspects of human rights, some of which have been published by UNICEF. In 2004, she was named by Forbes Magazineas one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
Her books include The Rights of the Child (1993), Tradition and Modernity (1995), The Rights of Women (2002), Iran Awakening (2006) and The Golden Cage (2011).
Since 2009, Ebadi has lived in exile in the United Kingdom, where she continues her advocacy through her writings, through her representation of political dissidents, and through her work with numerous human rights organizations.