For immediate release
December 10, 2015
An award that bridges the gap between communities and academia working to end AIDS
The Robert Carr Research Award, established in 2014, and its accompanying Memorial Lecture (first held in 2012), celebrate the late, Jamaican, Dr Robert Carr’s enduring vision of community organizations, academic researchers and advocates collaborating to advance human rights-based policies and practices aimed at ending AIDS.
Robert, was founder of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), a former Executive Director of Jamaica Aids Support for Life and an early member of JFLAG. He was passionate about the need for cross-disciplinary research to inform policy and advocacy efforts aimed at ending AIDS, especially in countries where communities disproportionately affected by HIV face discrimination, social rejection, violence and imprisonment, often by government officials and agencies. On this Human Rights Day in 2015, we continue to honor his legacy and commitment to translating findings from research collaborations between community and academic partners into tangible policy development and advocacy efforts, which is the driving force behind the biannual award. The second of the awards will be announced during the Memorial Lecture at the 21st International AIDS Conference (IAS) in Durban, South Africa in July 2016.
In 2014, an unprecedented research project, Sex Work & Violence: Understanding Factors for Safety and Protection, received the first Research Award at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia. The collaborative study brought together sex worker communities, sex work rights advocates, the United Nations, researchers and governments from Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Aimed at finding solutions to stop violence against and stigma of sex workers, the study illustrated the value of equitable research partnerships, and the role of the role of communities in gathering and using evidence to inform policymaking. (The study is available here.)
The first Research Award was presented on behalf of the four organizations who had brought it into being: ICASO, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International AIDS Society (IAS) and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR) at John Hopkins University.
ICASO, HRW, the IAS and the CPHHR are now proud to announce that the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) and the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) have joined this partnership. “For many people around the world, Robert’s name remains synonymous with human rights, and some four and a half years after his sudden death, his legacy as a social justice and HIV activist, and advocate for vulnerable communities is carried forward by this strengthened partnership,” said Mary Ann Torres, Executive Director of ICASO.
“We are proud to see Robert’s legacy carried forward through the Research Award and Memorial Lecture. Robert was a powerful intellectual and an effective activist who modelled for the world that it is possible to be both.” said George Ayala, Executive Director of the MSMGF.
Ivan Cruickshank from CVC expressed their delight to be associated with this initiative. “It represents in a significant way Robert’s untiring efforts to bridge the divide between communities, especially those who are most often marginalized, and academia. This Lecture and Research Award is a most fitting tribute to his life and work.”
For more information, please visit www.icaso.org/robert-carr-award. The official call for nominations will be launched on February 1, 2016. The winner will be announced in July. The 3rd Memorial Lecture will be delivered during the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban on a date to be announced later.