Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist who will receive an honorary degree from Williams in June, has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Years before reformers like President Mohammed Khatami started talking about political freedom, Ebadi, 56, was demanding fundamental rights from an Islamic regime that systematically violated them. Her Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 gave Ebadi even greater moral authority inside Iran, injecting fresh hope into a pro-democracy movement that has suffered escalating repression at the hands of the mullahs. She refuses to be pessimistic. “When you are hopeless,” she says, “you are at a dead end.”

The Univ. of Pennslvania’s commencement speaker, Bono, also made the list.

Print  •  Email