Shirin Ebadi J.D. was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights, especially those of women, children and political prisoners in Iran. She was the first Muslim woman to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, and only the fifth to win the award in any field. Dr. 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. After dismissal in wake of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, she was made a clerk in the court she once presided over, until petitioning for early retirement.
After obtaining her lawyer’s license in 1992, Dr. Ebadi set up private practice and defended numerous political dissidents resulting in her arrest on many occasions. She has also established many non-governmental organizations in Iran, including the Million Signatures Campaign to demand an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. Dr. Ebadi is a university professor and has published 13 books and over 70 articles dedicated to human rights. In 2004, she was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most powerful women.