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The Ralston Prize

The Jackson H. Ralston Prize in International Law

Background

Jackson H. Ralston was a distinguished international lawyer in the United States who died in 1945. His widow, Opal Ralston, first created a trust in 1972 as part of her own estate to establish the Jackson H. Ralston Prize in his memory and, in 2007, the Ralston Prize Fund was generously enhanced with an additional gift provided by Mr. Ralston’s great-nephew, Ira Randall, and his wife, Winona. The purpose of this prize is to advance the goals and honor the accomplishments of Jackson H. Ralston as evidenced by his activities in international relations from 1899 through 1945.

The Ralston Prize is intended to recognize original and distinguished contributions by a man or woman to the development of the role of law in international relations. The concept of law broadly includes all human efforts to enhance the establishment of international peace and justice. It broadly encompasses activity in arbitration, diplomacy, international organization, and other steps toward the peaceful settlement of disputes and conditions promoting world order.

According to the terms of the trust, the Prize is to be awarded only when specially merited and only to a person whose contribution(s) toward the objectives of the award have attained the highest professional competence. It is intended that the award recognize not merely the completion of constructive scholarship, but also the presentation of proposals or the conduct of activities contributing to the improvement of the role of law in international affairs. The Ralston trust also stipulates that nominations for the Ralston Prize be supported by the President of the University, the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Over the years, the Ralston Prize Lectures have addressed a broad range of topics, including social justice and individual freedom, disarmament and development, transformation in South Africa, and the principles of negotiation.

Photo credit for images in the banner: (Left) Copyright Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. (Center) Photographer Edward W. Souza.  (Right) Photographer Paul Wood.