Former Academy Director Honored with Human Rights Prize

Svetlana Stone-Wachtell received the Heinz R. Pagels Award at the Academy’s 192d annual meeting.

Published October 08, 2010

“For her inspired and effective accomplishments on behalf of the human rights of scientists throughout the world,” the NYAS Human Rights Committee this year chose its former director, Svetlana Stone-Wachtell, to receive the Heinz R. Pagels Award at the Academy’s 192d annual meeting in September.

Since even before she took on the directorship of the NYAS Human Rights of Scientists Committee upon its inception more than 30 years ago, Stone-Wachtell has had an enormous impact on countless individuals, the committee said upon announcing the prize. Stone-Wachtell welcomed Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov and Chinese dissident Fang Lizhi at the Academy on their first U.S. appearances after years in exile.

Under her directorship, the NYAS Human Rights of Scientists Committee had marshaled the scientific community on behalf of Sakharov and Lizhi as well as on behalf of Wen Ho Lee, the Chinese-American scientist who was accused of mishandling classified information; Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, a Cuban economist who was jailed for her human rights activities; and hundreds of other scientists, scholars, and medical doctors from Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Palestinian Authority, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, and elsewhere.