Each year, The New School awards honorary degrees to individuals who exemplify the interests and ambitions of the graduating class. As part of our commencement ceremony, celebrated figures are heralded for their unique contributions and formally decreed members of this scholarly community.
Award recipients embody the university’s driving principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and creative experimentation. Like our students and alumni, New School honorary degree holders have included many bold innovators whose work across disciplines has addressed important contemporary issues.
The University in Exile Award commemorates the rescue mission undertaken by The New School in the 1930s and recognizes national or international figures whose actions, public service, or writing have advanced the cause of democracy and human rights. The award focuses attention on the living traditions that have strengthened the university and contributed to a greater public understanding of the close relationship between learning and the struggle for a better world. Past recipients include the Russian democratic leader Galina Starovoitova; Dogu Ergil, the Turkish human rights activist; Yuri Kochiyama, an American civil rights activist who was a leader in the movement to redress the injustices done to Japanese Americans interned during World War II; Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Egyptian human rights and democracy activist; five Cuban dissidents-Oswaldo Payá, Vladimiro Roca Antunez, Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, Raúl Rivero Castañeda, and Oscar Elías Biscet González; Israeli/Palestinian peace activists Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh; the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights activist group from Argentina; Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi; and Polish women's rights activist Wanda Nowicka.