Rights organization wins Wharton Prize for work on violence against women

News India Times

Staff Writer

04/21/2014

Mallika Dutt

A global organization founded by an Indian-American has won a prestigious prize for its work on violence against women.

The Wharton Business School’s third annual Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize goes to Breakthrough, a New York-based global organization founded by Mallika Dutt, the University of Pennsylvania announced April 7. The organization will receive $125,000 and official recognition at an award ceremony to be held April 24, at the University of Pennsylvania.

The university recognized Breakthrough as “a global human rights group working to drive the culture change necessary to make violence against women unacceptable, in part by engaging men as leaders and partners.”

Breakthrough was chosen from over 150 organizations worldwide. Along with Breakthrough, the other Prize finalists are Kickstart, a social entrepreneurship organization to help people out of poverty; and Not For Sale, a non-profit that works with victims of human trafficking.

“Breakthrough’s efforts to leverage the global allure of pop culture, technology, and media as instruments of empowerment are not only innovative but inspirational,” UPenn President Amy Gutmann is quoted saying in the press release. Dutt could not be reached by press time.

A graduate of Columbia University, N.Y., Dutt is an attorney by training, and is known for her human rights advocacy at the grassroots. Before founding Breakthrough, Dutt served as program officer for Human Rights and Social Justice at the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi Office. She was also associate director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, N.J. Dutt said the organization was “deeply honored” to receive the prize.

“We are energized by the opportunity to create game-changing new partnerships and engage broad new audiences to realize our mission,” she is quoted saying.

Among some of the outreach products Breakthrough created was its award-winning Bell Bajao! media strategy in India, and its Ring the Bell global public awareness campaign. The Ring the Bell campaign calls on men worldwide to take concrete action to challenge violence against women. That campaign won the Cannes Silver Lion award earlier.

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