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Lehman College Professor Wins Prestigious Human Rights Award

October 18, 2010


Professor Victoria Sanford

Professor Victoria Sanford of the Anthropology department recently co-authored a paper on human rights abuses in Guatemala, which won the 2010 Margaret Popkin Award, named for the late human rights lawyer and executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Due Process of Law Foundation. The paper, written with Professor Heather Walsh-Haney, a forensic anthropologist from Florida Gulf Coast University, is titled "Human Rights Abuses in Guatemala: How Cultural and Forensic Anthropologists Work Together to Document Crimes."

"Dr. Walsh-Haney and I are truly honored to receive the Margaret Popkin Award," said Professor Sanford. "She was a tireless advocate for human rights in Central America and we are deeply moved to have our work recognized in her memory. We hope this award helps keep American attention on the dire needs of Guatemalans to have access to justice and a functioning legal system."

She was also a panelist at the Mexico and Central America Program Speaker Series at Harvard University on Oct. 13. Professor Sanford discussed her recent article in ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, regarding presentation of her book La Masacre de Panzós: Etnicidad, tierra y violencia en Guatemala (2009) on the 32nd anniversary of the 1978 massacre of Maya peasants.

Professor Sanford is also the author of Guatemala: Del Genocidio al Feminicdio (2008), Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala (2003), as well as co-editor (with Asalae Angel-Ajani) of Engaged Observer: Anthropology, Advocacy and Activism (2006). She has conducted extensive research in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and South Africa. She is also the recipient of several fellowships, awards, and honors, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), the Early Career Award of the Society for the Psychological Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence of the American Psychological Association and a Fulbright Research/Teaching Award from the Fulbright Association of Colombia, both in 2004.

A graduate of California State University in Sacramento, she earned a master's with distinction from San Francisco State University in the society and culture of Central America and a master's and doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University.