Ebadi, Shirin 1947-

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Ebadi, Shirin 1947-


Born 1947, in Hamedan, Iran; daughter of Mohammad Ali Ebadi (an academician and local government official); married Javad Tavassolian (an electrical engineer); children: Negar, Nargess. Education: Obtained law degree from Tehran University, c. 1968, later obtained doctorate, 1971.


Home—Tehran, Iran.


Judge, lawyer, and writer. Justice Department, Tehran, Iran, judge, 1969-79, president of the city court of Tehran, 1975-79, then clerk and legal expert; lawyer in private practice, Tehran, Iran, 1992—. Lecturer at Tehran University.


Association for Support of Children's Rights in Iran (founder).


Nobel Peace Prize, 2003.


History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran, translated by Nazila Fathi, Bibliotheca Persica Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Azadeh Moaveni) Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.


Shirin Ebadi grew up in Tehran and studied law at Tehran University. While completing her doctoral studies, she was hired by the Iranian Justice Department and made a judge in 1969, becoming the first woman in Iran to preside over a court. Several years later she became president of the city court of Tehran. Her career was halted in 1979 when the country's new leadership stripped women from positions of public office and power after the Islamic Revolution. She was made a clerk in her own court. Shortly thereafter, she opted for early retirement and began writing. Ebadi stated in an interview with Brian Shott of New America Media: "Your nation, your homeland, to me is like a mother. When my homeland faces difficulties, I do not allow myself to leave it." With this belief, she remained in Iran and returned to the courts in 1992 as a lawyer. Her actions and cases supporting human rights in Iran have led to her being imprisoned several times, but have also helped to win her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

With the assistance of Azadeh Moaveni, Ebadi wrote her memoir, Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, in 2006. Aside from the difficulties of speaking so freely within Iran, Ebadi also faced legal challenges from the U.S. Treasury Department, which refused to allow her memoir to be published in the United States due to its ongoing embargo of Iran. Reviews of Ebadi's memoir were mostly positive. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews described the book as "an admirable account that will be of special interest to those keeping their eyes on the Middle East." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Laura Secor said she "wishes there were more [stories] about the cases themselves, the strategies she has used to represent her clients, and the intricacies of the trials" as "their absence here is conspicuous." Nevertheless, Secor called the memoir "a complex and moving portrait of a life lived in truth … within the stultify- ing confines of a political system intended to compel passivity." Noreen Shanahan concluded in a Herizons article that Iran Awakening "sheds important light on the situation for Iranian women during Ebadi's lifetime, and she does an excellent job of balancing her private story with her public work."



Ebadi, Shirin, and Azadeh Moaveni, Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.


Asia Source, June 10, 2004, Nermeen Shaikh, author profile and interview.

Biography, summer, 2006, Sparkle Hayter, review of Iran Awakening, p. 517.

Booklist, May 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Iran Awakening, p. 56.

Capper's, October 28, 2003, "Iranian Rights Activist Receives Nobel Peace Prize," p. 2.

Catholic New Times, November 2, 2003, "Nobel Peace Prize Is Given to Islamic Woman from Iran," p. 7.

Christian Century, November 1, 2003, "Iranian Woman Wins Nobel Peace Prize," p. 16.

Commentary, October 1, 2006, David Warren, review of Iran Awakening, p. 64.

Herizons, January 1, 2004, "Iranian Woman Wins Nobel Prize," p. 7; winter, 2007, Noreen Shanahan, review of Iran Awakening, p. 38.

Journal of International Affairs, March 22, 2007, Amy L. Keith, review of Iran Awakening, p. 220.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2006, review of Iran Awakening, p. 333.

Library Journal, May 15, 2006, Lisa Klopfer, review of Iran Awakening, p. 107.

Middle East, November 1, 2003, Pat Lancaster, "A Worthy Winner," p. 32.

Middle East Economic Digest, October 17, 2003, "Ebadi Wins Nobel Peace Prize," p. 3.

Middle East Journal, September 22, 2006, Geneive Abdo, review of Iran Awakening, p. 795.

Middle East Policy, December 22, 2006, David Nalle, review of Iran Awakening, p. 170.

Nation, November 3, 2003, "Iran's Hope," p. 6.

New Internationalist, September 1, 2006, Peter Whittaker, review of Iran Awakening, p. 26.

New York Times Book Review, July 16, 2006, Laura Secor, review of Iran Awakening, p. 14.

Newsweek, October 20, 2003, Marie Valla, author interview, p. 92.

O, the Oprah Magazine, May 1, 2006, Tara Bahrampour, "Why is Shirin Ebadi Still Risking Her Life?," p. 223.

Off Our Backs, November 1, 2003, "Iranian Woman Beats Out Pope for Nobel Prize," p. 4.

Presbyterian Record, May 1, 2004, "Nobel Peace Prize Winner Says Islam Is a Religion of Peace and Equality," p. 24.

Progressive, September 1, 2004, Amitabh Pal, author interview, p. 35.

Publishers Weekly, March 27, 2006, review of Iran Awakening, p. 74.

Sister Namibia, November 1, 2003, Sheila Sahar, "Iranian Feminist Wins Nobel Peace Prize," p. 36.

Skipping Stones, November-December, 2003, "The 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Will Go to Shirin Ebadi," p. 31.

Social Education, May 1, 2004, Iftikhar Ahmad, "Shirin Ebadi," p. 260.

Spiegel (Hamburg, Germany), August 29, 2006, Cameron Abadi, author interview.

This, May-June, 2006, Vladi Ivanov, review of Iran Awakening, p. 39.

Time, October 20, 2003, Scott Macleod, "She Is Very Brave," p. 39; December 15, 2003, Scott Macleod, "One Woman's Way," p. 44; April 26, 2004, Scott Macleod, "Shirin Ebadi: For Islam and Humanity," p. 118; May 15, 2006, Jeff Chu, "10 Questions for Shirin Ebadi," p. 6.

Time for Kids, October 24, 2003, "A Brave Champion of Peace," p. 2.

UN Chronicle, March 1, 2004, Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, "I Shall Remain an Attorney Committed to Human Rights," p. 66.

UPI International Intelligence, May 5, 2006, Katherine Gypson, author interview.

U.S. News & World Report, October 20, 2003, Lisa Stein, "Iranian Wins Honor," p. 12.

Washington Post Book World, June 18, 2006, Nora Boustany, review of Iran Awakening, p. 13.

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 1, 2004, Pat McDonnell Twair, "Shirin Ebadi, Iran's Nobel Peace Laureate," p. 32.


Carnegie Council Web site,http://www.cceia.org/ (July 15, 2007), Joanne Myers, author interview.

New America Media,http://www.news.newmaericamedia.org/ (May 20, 2006), Brian Shott, author interview.

Nobel Prize Foundation Web site,http://www.nobelprize.org/ (July 15, 2007), author profile.

Persian Mirror,http://www.persianmirror.com/ (July 15, 2007), Elham Binai, review of Iran Awakening.

San Diego Jewish World,http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/ (July 15, 2007), David Strom, review of Iran Awakening.

Shirin Ebadi Home Page,http://www.shirinebadi.ir (July 15, 2007), author profile.

University of California, Berkeley Web site,http://www.berkeley.edu/ (July 15, 2007), Harry Kreisler, author interview.

Women Warriors,http://librarythinkquest.org/05aug/00160/ (July 15, 2007), author profile.