Eligibility & Selection Criteria

Clinicians and healing practitioners who treat torture survivors are eligible for the Barbara Chester Award — from the fields of psychology, social work, physical therapy, counseling, psychiatry, western medicine, and indigenous healing traditions.

For purposes of the Award, "torture" shall be defined as the deliberate, systematic or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons acting in official capacities, such as in government, or occurring as a result of organized violence.

Selection Committee

The Barbara Chester Award recipient will be determined by vote of the Selection Committee. Selection Committee members have demonstrated substantial lifetime commitment to the field of human rights, and many have worked specifically with survivors of political torture.

Mandatory (Basic) Requirements

Candidates must be clinicians or healing practitioners who provide treatment or healing services directly to survivors of political torture and their communities.
Candidates must work primarily with torture survivors, although they might in addition provide services to other clients, such as refugees who have suffered dislocation and subsequent trauma.

Desirable Qualities

Candidates should exemplify some (not necessarily all) of the following qualities, abilities, and accomplishments undertaken and performed in a respectful and nonviolent manner.
  • Courage
  • Compassion
  • Scholarly Contributions
  • Client Empowerment
  • Conceptual and Intellectual Brilliance
  • Tenacity and Perseverance
  • Respect for cultural diversity
  • Facilitation of community organization and teamwork
  • Strong, effective client advocacy
  • Promotion of self-determination for indigenous people
  • Superb therapeutic/healing skills.
Consideration will also be given to candidates whose personal safety may be in jeopardy from working in high-risk situations.