International Refugee Assistance Project Director Recognized

  • IRAP director Becca Heller, right, in conversation with journalist and editor Tina Brown on April 4, 2016. (Courtesy of TheCharlesBronfmanPrize.com)
    IRAP director Becca Heller, right, in conversation with journalist and editor Tina Brown on April 4, 2016. (Courtesy of TheCharlesBronfmanPrize.com)

On April 4, Rebecca Heller, the director and co-founder of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), was awarded the 2015 Charles Bronfman Prize for IRAP’s work providing legal services to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Heller is the youngest recipient of the prize, which recognizes young humanitarians whose work, inspired by their Jewish values, has global impact.

At the award ceremony, Heller praised the resilience of refugees, who often have to wait for years as their visa applications are scrutinized. She said that the United States and other countries accepting refugees are “dealing with a self-selecting population of people who have been through things that we can’t even imagine and survived it. That’s exactly who you want coming here.”

IRAP brings together law students and pro bono attorneys to provide comprehensive legal aid to refugees throughout their lengthy registration, protection, and resettlement processes. The organization advocates for reforms to refugee resettlement policy and focuses on the most urgent cases, especially individuals who are survivors or targets of political, religious, or gender-based violence and children with medical emergencies.

Related Links

International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center

The Charles Bronfman Prize

Rebecca Heller on The Open Mind from PBS (March 26, 2016)

The Times of Israel: Meet the ‘intensely neurotic’ Jew saving the world’s refugees (April 6, 2016)

Recent grants to IRAP