She’s a renowned human rights lawyer who has represented clients such as Nobel Peace Prize winner and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. And now Amal Clooney has been honored for her tireless and passionate work on behalf of refugees, those affected by conflict, and those in need of education.
The Global Citizen of the Year Award was bestowed on the Beirut-born mother-of-two at the annual UN Correspondents Awards on Wednesday, in a ceremony held in New York City. The accolade is a top prize given to a person working on solutions to various global issues, from conflict and humanitarian disasters, peace and security to climate change, according to the awards website. Wearing a navy and cream flowing J. Mendel gown, Clooney was accompanied by her Hollywood actor and director husband George on the night, as well as her in-laws, Nick and Nina Clooney.
Amal was appointed to her first UN commissions in 2013, including acting as an adviser to Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syria, and first spoke at the UN in 2016, revealing why she chose to represent Iraqi activist Murad. Together with husband George, the British-Lebanese lawyer has also been behind several philanthropic moves this year, with the couple pledging to donate US $100,000 through their justice foundation to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights in June. They made the donation in an effort to help migrant children being forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, citing their duties as parents.
“At some point in the future our children will ask us: “Is it true, did our country really take babies from their parents and put them in detention centers?” the couple wrote in a statement. “And when we answer yes, they’ll ask us what we did about it. What we said. Where we stood. We can’t change this administration’s policy but we can help defend the victims of it.” This also comes only a few months after the husband and wife donated US$500,000 to the March for Our Lives, in the name of their children.
On the day of the UN Correspondents Awards, the couple’s latest endeavor was revealed: TrialWatch. The global initiative will monitor court trials where there is a risk of abuse, and rank countries’ judicial systems. “Today, courts all over the world are used as tools of oppression,” Amal said in a statement. “Governments get away too easily with imprisoning opposition figures, silencing critics and persecuting vulnerable groups through the courts. Trial monitoring will shine a light on these abuses.”