Visiting Clinical Lecturer Rebecca Heller ’10 Receives Charles Bronfman Prize

The Charles Bronfman Prize named Visiting Clinical Lecturer Rebecca M. Heller ’10 the 2015 award recipient for her work creating and running the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). The Prize, and an accompanying $100,000 award, is presented annually to a humanitarian under the age of 50 whose work is informed by Jewish values and has a global impact.

Charles Bronfman, the namesake of the Prize, said, “I am delighted to announce this year’s award recipient, Becca Heller, our youngest ever recipient. Countless people have been helped by her tireless efforts, and I’m thrilled to recognize someone with such vision, aptitude, and a proven track record of success. My hope is that this Prize will allow her to impact the lives of many more people on a global scale."

Heller founded and directs the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project at Yale Law School, an organization that assists Iraqi refugees in applying for resettlement from abroad and adjusting to life in the United States, and she launched subsequent chapters at U.C. Berkeley, Columbia, Stanford, and NYU Law Schools. IRAP pairs students with volunteer attorneys to provide legal representation to refugees. To date, IRAP has successfully enabled the resettlement of more than 2,500 at-risk refugees to nine countries.

“I am honored to be the 2015 recipient of The Charles Bronfman Prize, an award that is a credit to the Bronfman family’s commitment to Jewish values, innovation, and service,” Heller said. “Of course, the award is a source of great personal pride, but more importantly, it provides an opportunity to shed light on one of the great moral and humanitarian crises facing our society—the plight of millions of refugees who live in despair, fear, and poverty, often without help and without hope. The Charles Bronfman Prize inspires me and everyone associated with IRAP to intensify our efforts to ensure that refugees around the world are treated with fairness, accountability and respect for their basic human dignity.”