Sofía Galván Puente, a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame Law School’s LL.M. degree program in international human rights law, will receive the National Youth Award of 2011 for Human Rights. The award recognizes Mexican youth “whose career trajectory, commitment, or study brings honor to their generation and inspires individual or community progress.” Mexican President Felipe Calderon will personally present Ms. Galván with the award, a gold medal, in December 2011.
The National Youth Award – the highest public honor awarded by the government of Mexico – honors Ms. Galván’s human rights work in Mexico and around the world. Since 2010, she has served as Director for Mexico and Central America at Disability Rights International (DRI). According to DRI, she played a key role in helping activists in Mexico set up the Colectivo Chuhcan, the first advocacy organization in Mexico run by people with psychosocial disabilities. Ms. Galván is an investigator and co-author of DRI’s recent report Abandoned & Disappeared: Mexico’s Segregation and Abuse of Children and Adults with Disabilities. On behalf of DRI, Ms. Galván has spoken out on numerous occasions in the Mexican and international media. She has reached out to other disability rights and human rights organizations to sensitize them to the human rights concerns of children and adults with disabilities who are detained in orphanages, psychiatric facilities, and other institutions.
Prior to earning her LL.M., magna cum laude from Notre Dame, Ms. Galván earned her law degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in 2006. She has worked at both the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). She served as a Notre Dame Fellow in an internship funded by the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, and collaborated in the Organization of American States’ Electoral Observation Mission in Guatemala as an International Observer.
More information about the award is available here.