Activist Basij Rasikh Wins Heintz Award

The Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement was bestowed on Shabana Basij Rasikh, Afghan girls’ education activist, at the Robert H. Jackson Center.

The ceremony was held at a dinner that kicked off the Jackson Center’s seventh annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, hosted at the Chautauqua Institution from August 25-27. The dialogues help advance the work of Robert H. Jackson and the Nuremberg war crime trials as the genesis of modern international criminal law. Accepting the award on Ms. Basij Rasikh’s behalf was Gail Buerger Kerr of Chautauqua.

Shabana Basij-Rasikh was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. Under the Taliban, she dressed as a boy to escort her older sister to a secret school – with dire consequences if they were caught. She attended a high school in America under the YES exchange program and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. During college, she founded HELA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Afghan women through education. She is also managing director of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan, a nonprofit that helps exceptional young Afghan women access education worldwide and jobs back home.

The Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement’s benefactor is Joshua Heintz of Syracuse. A retired attorney, Heintz is passionate about creating avenues for institutions of higher education to serve the community-at-large. He was a principle figure in the creation of the Syracuse University College of Law’s internationally recognized Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. Heintz also serves on the board at Syracuse University and is on the board of the Robert H. Jackson Center.

The inscription made on the crystal obelisk presented by Joshua Heintz honored Bassiouni as “A compassionate visionary dedicated to the pursuit of justice who leaves a legacy in international humanitarian law.”