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BC's Brinton Lykes Honored with
International Humanitarian Award

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (December 2012) —  Boston College Lynch School of Education Professor M. Brinton Lykes has been named winner of the American Psychological Association's 2013 International Humanitarian Award, in recognition of her sustained and enduring humanitarian services to underserved populations and her many contributions to international psychology.

M. Brinton Lykes
M. Brinton Lykes

The award, overseen by the APA's Committee on International Relations in Psychology, recognizes extraordinary humanitarian service and activism by a psychologist or a team of psychologists, including professional and/or volunteer work conducted primarily in the field with underserved populations.

"Extraordinary humanitarian services" are defined as professional activities initiated by psychologists, working alone or in association with others, to help alleviate severe stress and restore psychological well-being to a group of people in a variety of difficult circumstances, such as a natural or person-induced disaster, a national or international incident, a civil war or a forced migration.

As a community-cultural psychologist, Lykes is focused on documenting and responding to the effects of state-sponsored violence and human rights violations in collaboration with those directly and indirectly affected. Her work has brought her all over North America: in Boston working with Latino middle school youth and collaborating with unauthorized migrants; in rural Guatemala seeking answers and reparations alongside Mayan women survivors of armed conflict and sexual violence; and, in her hometown of New Orleans, post-Katrina, partnering with African-American and Latina community-based health promoters to develop new models of cross-community leadership.

"Partnering with [these people] to develop solidarity and actions that challenge the underlying causes of social injustice has sustained my ‘audacious hope,’” said Lykes, a professor and chair in the Lynch School of Education's Department of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology.

Lykes also is an associate director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College.

"Brinton Lykes' practical engagement with people facing the struggles that arise from conflict and injustice is a model for all of us who seek to advance human rights today," Center Director David Hollenbach, S.J., holder of BC's University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice, has said.

Earlier this academic year, she was selected for the prestigious Ignacio Martín-Baró Lifetime Peace Practitioner Award from the APA's Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence.

“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," she added.

She will be honored at the APA convention in Hawaii this summer.

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

Information from a Lynch School of Education article was used in this story.