Sister Consuelo Morales
Courtesy Photo

CNN Hero of the Year: Robin Lim: This Dos Pueblos High graduate was inspired to begin a career in midwifery after her sister died tragically during childbirth; she’s spent the past 15 years devoted to delivering babies and saving the lives of mothers in Indonesia. This month, she was honored by CNN during an internationally televised red-carpet gala as the Hero of the Year. “Nine-hundred and eighty-one mothers in the prime of life will die today,” said Lim during her acceptance speech, noting the average rate of childbirth-caused fatalities worldwide. “I’m asking you to change that.” (

Alison Des Forges Award: Sister Consuelo Morales: “The so-called ‘War on Drugs’ [in Mexico] has caused increasing and unstoppable violence,” said Sister Consuelo Morales to a packed house during Human Rights Watch’s annual gala at the DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara last month. “Homicide rates are skyrocketing. Human rights abuses have gone through the roof.” The small, vivacious 63-year-old Roman Catholic nun was being honored with an Alison Des Forges Award by Human Rights Watch for “[putting] her life on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others.” Morales began CADHAC (Citizens in Support of Human Rights) in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1992 when there were no human rights organizations to address an alarming rise of abuses, including those in state-run orphanages. (

UCSB’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award: Peter Bouckaert: “I had the privilege to be present at the first Friday protests in Egypt,” Peter Bouckaert recently told an audience of UCSB students regarding his experience working with watchdog organization Human Rights Watch. “The night before, the government had shut down the Internet and mobile-phone network and arrested many activists. We watched in the city of Alexandria as the people came out of the mosques and began protesting, raising their hands to the police and shouting, ‘Salmiya, salmiya’ (‘Peaceful, peaceful’). They were immediately and viciously attacked by the police. We saw people killed in front of us.” Bouckaert said it was UCSB that guided him in this process that he initiated at Human Rights Watch when he set up the Emergencies Division he now runs. (


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