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Clyde Snow Social Justice Award

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The Clyde Snow Social Justice Award

Dr. Clyde Snow, a prominent Oklahoman, and an internationally known anthropologist and forensic scientist, committed his knowledge and skills to the pursuit of social justice through the recovery and identification of victims of human rights abuses around the world.

In recognition of his global impact, to honor the legacy of his transformative work, and to support the grassroots social justice work of other activists seeking justice for those whose human rights have been violated, the Center for Social Justice established the Clyde Snow Social Justice Award in 2012. The first award was given to Dr. Snow himself, with subsequent awards being given every two years. Visit the 'Past Awardees' page to learn more about the recipients of the Clyde Snow Social Justice Award.

Nominees can come from any field and reside in any country. The awardee (or a representative of a group) travels to the University of Oklahoma to participate in the award ceremony, meet with students and members of the community, and give presentations about their work. The award consists of $5000 to support ongoing social justice work and a sculpture designed by artist Harvey Pratt.

Questions related to the award may be directed towards the Chair of the Clyde Snow Social Justice Award Committee, Misha Klein (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma):

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Flyer: WGS Center for Social Justice Presents Clyde Snow Social Justice Award Public Lecture featuring Irina Flige 2022 Clyde Snow Awardee Russian human rights activist founding member and director of "Memorial" 2022 nobel peace prize recipient History as a Battlefield in Putin's Russia April 12, 2023 6pm Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Robert S. Kerr Auditorium For information and accommodartions, please call (405) 325-3481. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution

Clyde Snow Social Justice Award Public Lecture

History as a Battlefield in Putin's Russia 

April 12, 2023 | 6 p.m. 

Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History 

Robert S. Kerr Auditorium  

Irina Flige

Irina Flige, Russian human rights activist

The 2022 Clyde Snow Social Justice Awardee is Irina Flige, a Russian human rights activist.

Flige is one of the founders and the long-time Director of the Research and Information Center “Memorial,” the primary branch of the Russian human rights network “Memorial” in St. Petersburg. She was also a long-time board member of Memorial International in Moscow, which the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ordered closed in 2021 as part of a larger crackdown on civil society and human rights organizations. In 2022, Russia’s Memorial network as a whole shared the Nobel Peace Prize with a human rights advocate from Belarus and a Ukrainian human rights organization ( Flige was part of the delegation that traveled to Oslo to receive this award.

In addition to her work with Memorial, Flige is the world’s leading expert on what she terms the Gulag “necropolis”: the network of mass and individual graves that resulted from the waves of repression that convulsed Soviet society during the Stalin period. Her painstaking work investigates the horrors of that time, making innovative use of technology to document and divulge the results of her research. Her work resonates strongly with Clyde Snow’s human rights work, given that many families of victims from the Stalin era still do not know definitively when or how their relations perished or where they might be buried. This work helps families to find closure and enables scholars to better understand how the machinery of state terror operated in the Soviet Union.

Flige has been involved in human rights work in Russia since the waning days of the Soviet Union. In 1978-1980, the KGB repeatedly searched her dwellings and questioned her because of she was active in an anti-Soviet student circles; at this time, many of her close friends were arrested. She was not deterred then, and she is not deterred now as the Russian authorities and courts have closed much of the Memorial network, which they have deemed “foreign agents” (, In many respects, the current legal situation in Russia means a return to working semi-underground, a situation similar to the one in which Flige was involved as a teenager. 

As stated in the nomination letter, Flige is “a unique and courageous woman who believes that in order to move forward, Russia must reveal what is hidden, talk openly about the past, and allow itself to mourn for the victims of terror.” Clearly, her work represents the very spirit of Dr. Snow’s human rights work, and we are honored to receive her at the University of Oklahoma.

Irina Flige will visit the University campus and community during the week of April 10, 2023. Return here for more details on public events during her visit.