Triumph of the Spirit Award Celebration


On the evening of Thursday, November 15, 2018 the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University held its third Triumph of the Spirit Award Celebration. The Triumph of the Spirit Award is a biennial award given in recognition of achievement, innovation, and sacrifice in working for justice and peace globally and locally.

The 2018 Triumph of the Spirit Award Global recipients were Nazi Hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld. For more than five decades, this married couple has brought war criminals to justice across the globe and helped restore the names and faces of Nazi victims. The 2018 Triumph of the Spirit Award Dallas honorees were the Docents of the Dallas Holocaust Museum. This elite team of North Texas educators is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference.

The ceremony gathered educators, activists, philanthropists, and leaders from Dallas and far beyond. It showcased a variety of creative expressions in celebration of the diverse struggle for human rights occurring across the globe.

The funds raised directly benefited the students and initiatives of the Embrey Human Rights Program, which was established in 2006 and launched a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Rights (one of only seven in the nation) in 2012. Since the program's inception, over 250 majors and minors have graduated and are making incredible changes throughout the world. From alumni like Shireen Tavakoli who now is a legal fellow for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington D.C. to current students like Greg Guggenmos who founded the Community Bail Fund of North Texas to provide grants to defendants awaiting trial in Dallas County, your participation supports students who are innovators, change agents, and the voice for those demanding dignity. Their education includes life-changing experiences such as learning trips to locations like Poland to see devastation caused by the Holocaust that inspires them to confront genocide, inequality and create solutions to the challenges facing us today. They tackle timely challenges like human trafficking, LGBTQ issues, legal assistance, equality and are always seeking solutions and success for humanity.

We would like to acknowledge the host committee and sponsors listed below.  It is through their dedication to human rights that SMU continues to build a strong foundation in students. Partnering with us, they are creating a long-lasting ripple effect touching our region, the human rights leaders of the future and the lives of the vulnerable. Thank you!