Champions of Human Rights

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is widely recognized as one of the twentieth century’s greatest political and spiritual leaders. Honored in India as the father of the nation, he pioneered and practiced the principle of Satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass nonviolent civil disobedience. While leading nationwide campaigns......

Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the twentieth century’s best-known advocates for nonviolent social change. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, King’s exceptional oratorical skills and personal courage first attracted national attention in 1955, when he and other civil rights activists were arrested after leading a......

Oscar Arias Sánchez won the respect of leaders and humanitarians everywhere for bringing peace to Central America. Born in 1941, he studied in the United States and then earned a law degree in Costa Rica. Elected President of Costa Rica in 1986, Arias Sánchez immediately......

Economist and Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus has become internationally renowned for his revolutionary system of micro-credit (small loans to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans) that has helped millions to escape poverty. Born in the seaport city of Chittagong, Bangladesh, Yunus’......

Desmond Tutu is one of South Africa’s most well-known human rights activists, winning the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in resolving and ending apartheid. Born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa, he became the first Black Anglican Archbishop of both Cape Town......

Nelson Mandela, one of the most recognizable human rights symbols of the twentieth century, is a man whose dedication to the liberties of his people inspires human rights advocates throughout the world. Born in Transkei, South Africa, Mandela was the son of a tribal chief,......

As the Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force in creating the 1948 charter which will always be her legacy: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Born in New York City, Eleanor married rising politician Franklin Delano Roosevelt......

Peter Benenson was born in London in 1921. Despite a rather unhappy childhood, including the death of his father when Peter was nine, his innate idealism soon emerged. At Eton, the 15-year-old organised support for the Spanish republican government as it fought the military uprising......