Nominations for Columbia University Free Expression Awards Now Open


Columbia University is now accepting nominations for its global freedom of expression awards taking place on March 11, 2015. The award which is referred to as the “Columbia Freedom of expression prizes” emphasizes the critical need for international norms for free speech and press as society combats various international challenges.

Mr. Lee C. Bollinger, the4 19th President of Columbia University announced the creation of the awards first prizes which is in recognition of global judicial decisions and legal representation that strengthen freedom of expression by promoting international legal norms.

According to Mr. Bollinger, “Judges and lawyers around the world routinely display great courage by standing firm in their commitment to free expression and the open sharing of information, often under harsh attacks against their independence.” He also adds “These individuals are creating a new set of global legal standards essential for safeguarding speech and the press in our modern society. The fact that they do so without fanfare, using the unremarkable tools of legal opinions and briefs, makes their work no less deserving of our admiration and our recognition.”
Criteria on which the prize winners will be selected include:

• All nominees shall have established a reputation for integrity and commitment to human rights, rule of law and legal excellence. Provide a short description of the candidate’s background and qualifications.
• The candidate’s judicial ruling, legal brief, or legal defense shall indicate sound legal reasoning and have advanced legal understanding of the issue. Explain how the ruling, brief or defense meets this qualification.
• The nominee’s judicial ruling, legal brief, or legal defense shall demonstrate a global understanding of FOE/I. Please explain below how this criterion is met, including by listing appropriate laws, standards, policies, or decisions regarding FOE/I that have been referenced in the nominee’s judicial ruling, legal brief, or legal defense; the listed references may be international and/or regional standards and interpretations of FOE/I or decisions from other jurisdictions
• The candidates ruling, brief, or defense shall protect FOE/I, either with regard to international standards or with reference to case jurisdiction. Please explain how the ruling/opinion/brief protects freedom of expression.

The first Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prizes will be awarded, in two categories:

• Legal Ruling Category:
This prize shall recognize a judge, U.S. or from around the world, for a ruling or decision that has advanced or strengthened the global understanding of and international standards on Freedom of Expression and Information.
• Legal Service Category:
This prize will recognize a legal brief, legal amicus brief or legal defense anywhere
Internationally that has advanced or strengthened global understanding of and international norms of Freedom of Expression and Information. It may be conferred upon individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organization

To submit nominations for the Columbia freedom of expression awards, fill out the nomination forms and email to before February 1, 2015. Nomination forms can be downloaded here