Ruderman Foundation honors Harvard prof with inclusion award

(JTA) — The Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation awarded Harvard University professor Michael Stein with its first Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion.

The $100,000 award announced Monday recognizes an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public, and awards the potential for future contributions.

Stein, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, is co-founder and executive director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, or HPOD. An internationally recognized expert on disability rights, Stein participated in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and consults with international governments on their disability laws and policies, according to the foundation.

“HPOD has been privileged to serve people with disabilities and their representative organizations in some forty countries, and I have been personally inspired, humbled, and energized by working with these advocates,” Stein said in a statement.

Martha Minow, dean of the Harvard Law School, called Stein’s work in disability law “truly groundbreaking.”

“Since co-founding HPOD as a global disability and policy center, he has influenced agencies and governments around the world, including the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which recently relied extensively on his arguments in a landmark decision on the voting rights of persons with intellectual disabilities,” Minow said. “He is thoroughly deserving of this recognition.”

The award was named for Mort Ruderman, a founder of the Ruderman Family Foundation and the father of foundation President Jay Ruderman.

Jay Ruderman said it was his father’s belief “that everyone deserves to be treated fairly that has inspired our mission to work toward the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our community. We are honored to name Michael Stein as the first recipient of the Morton E. Ruderman Award because his life’s work encompasses the values my father believed in.  I know that my father would have liked him.”

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