Law Student Rifk Ebeid Receives University's Spirit of King Award

Law Student Rifk Ebeid Poses with Spirit of King AwardRifk Ebeid, a third-year law student, has won the university's Spirit of King student award, which was conferred on her at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration held on January 28 at the Fairfax Campus.

The Spirit of King student award is presented to a student or student leader who has made an exceptional contribution to the development of a multicultural campus community. Some of the criteria considered in determining a recipient's worthiness are taking risks for issues and concerns greater than self and involvement in efforts contributing to the improvement of human relations on campus.

Ebeid was nominated for the award by classmate Kimi White (3D), who says, "I nominated Rifk because she works tirelessly for human rights causes, often without pay. She feels compelled to raise human rights issues through discussion and debate at Mason Law, not in a way to pad a resume, but because these issues need a forum. The Spirit of King award highlights the achievements of those who work to improve the lives of others, which Rifk does through her everyday dialogue."

Along with fellow student Ruba El-Hage (2D), Ebeid founded the law school's Arab Law Students Association (ALSA), an organization for which she now serves as president, in fall 2008. ALSA's stated goals include the nurture and promotion of knowledge and understanding of the contemporary Arab world and an appreciation for the richness of its culture. In addition, she has held leadership positions at the law school in the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the ACLU-GMUSL Chapter and has participated in the ABA Law Student Division.

A look at Ebeid's resume reveals a longstanding commitment to the principles of human rights, an area in which Ebeid holds a Master of Arts in Human Rights Studies awarded in 2005 by Columbia University. Since arriving at Mason Law in fall 2006, Ebeid has served as a legal intern for the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, the World Organization for Human Rights USA, and the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights. Prior to beginning law school, Ebeid was involved with numerous human rights organizations and efforts in New York, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Florida. She is fluent in Colloquial Arabic and has a working knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic.

Ebeid explains her dedication to her chosen cause, saying, "As a Muslim-Palestinian-American, promoting social justice has been something ingrained in me from a young age, and I look at it as an obligation incumbent upon all. In America, we are in a position of extreme privilege where there is an abundance of opportunities to make positive tangible changes in our society. I am honestly very humbled and honored to even have been considered for an award in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

In addition to her master's degree, Ebeid holds a BA summa cum laude in Political Science, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and expects to be awarded her JD in May 2009.