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Lynch School of Education

M. Brinton Lykes Receives APA 2013 International Humanitarian Award

Professor M. Brinton Lykes

This week, Lynch School Professor M. Brinton Lykes was selected as the recipient of the American Psychological Association (APA) 2013 International Humanitarian Award. The APA Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) honors Lykes for her sustained and enduring humanitarian services and activism with underserved populations. Earlier this fall, Lykes received the prestigious Ignacio Martín-Baró Lifetime Peace Practitioner Award from the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence of the APA.

Lykes’ deep involvement in the area of community-based participatory action research, particularly in the areas of human rights abuse and state-sponsored violence, have brought her to a range of settings: in Boston accompanying Latino middle school youth and collaborating with unauthorized migrants; in rural Guatemala seeking truth-telling and reparations alongside Maya women survivors of armed conflict and sexual violence; and, in post-Katrina New Orleans partnering with African American and Latina community-based health promoters to develop new models of cross-community leadership. Much of her work as a community-cultural psychologist is focused on documenting and responding to the effects of institutionalized racism, war, and human rights violations in collaboration with those directly and indirectly affected. It incorporates the creative arts and participatory and liberatory pedagogies and research methodologies through which she engages with local communities in identifying and revaluing their indigenous beliefs and practices towards generating new knowledge through action-reflection processes.   

“Dr. Lykes has worked for many years as a champion of human rights and international justice. The current award follows a number of previous recognitions. Through her scholarship, advocacy, community-based work, and role as a leader in the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Brinton exemplifies and actualizes the Lynch School social justice ideals,” said Interim Dean Maureen Kenny.

Lykes will be honored for both of these awards with a formal and personalized award citation at the APA/APF Award Ceremony to be held this coming summer in Honolulu, Hawaii during the annual APA Convention.

“I am deeply humbled to accept these honors as recognition of the many individuals and communities in whose lives I have shared over the past several decades. Partnering with them to develop solidarity and actions that challenge the underlying causes of social injustice has sustained my ‘audacious hope,’” Lykes said. “Thus psychological knowledge and practice developed from the bottom up, that is, with those marginalized or excluded from power, can, as Ignacio Martín-Baró argued, liberate our discipline, engaging us in praxis that transforms structures of inequality towards creating more equitable social systems that foster individual and community well-being.” 

Lykes serves as chair of the Lynch School’s Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology department, and as the associate director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College.

The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world's largest association of psychologists, with more than 137,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members.