(Cambridge, MA, April 8, 2011) On the evening of Friday, April 8, writer and professor of philosophy Rebecca Goldstein will be named the American Humanist Association’s 2011 Humanist of the Year at the 70th Annual AHA Conference. Goldstein will be one of many luminaries awarded at the conference, which is being held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 7 through 10.
Goldstein, a recipient of the Montague Prize for Excellence in Philosophy, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Radcliffe Fellowship, has taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, and Rutgers University. In 2005 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2008, she was designated as a Humanist Laureate by the International Academy of Humanism. Her numerous works include Betraying Spinoza, The Mind-Body Problem, and most recently Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, which was published by Pantheon Books in 2010.
“Presenting Dr. Goldstein with this award is an honor,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Her work in the humanist and academic worlds alike has had such an impact on the movement. It is because of great minds such as hers that humanism continues to evolve while generating an educated and devoted following.”
Other events at the conference include break-out sessions that will consider a range of topics, such as women’s rights, international humanism, expanding and sustaining the atheist movement, the born-again syndrome, LGBT rights, creationism, health and sexuality, and many more. Speakers include 1996 Humanist of the Year Richard Dawkins, 2006 Humanist of the Year Steven Pinker, musician and satirist Roy Zimmerman, author Jeff Sharlet, Asheville City Councilmember Cecil Bothwell, and reproductive rights pioneer Bill Baird.
A prestigious roster of humanist figures will also be awarded.
Judy Norsigan, executive director and founder of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, will receive the Humanist Heroine Award. She is the co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause and Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth. Judy is also the founder and longtime board member of Community Works, which raises funds for Boston area social change organizations through payroll deduction charitable giving programs.
Bart Ehrman, Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be receiving the Religious Liberty Award. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity, including twenty-four books, numerous scholarly articles, and dozens of book reviews.
Candace Gingrich-Jones, the Youth and Campus Outreach Associate Director at the Human Rights Campaign, will be given the LGBT Humanist Pride Award. In 1995 she was the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Project. In 1996 she published the best-selling Accidental Activist: A Personal and Political Memoir.
Steve Wozniak, Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist, will receive the Isaac Asimov Science Award. He designed Apple’s first line of products, the Apple I and II, and influenced the popular Macintosh. For his achievements at Apple Computer, he was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985. He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.