Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award

The Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award honors an alum who is a native, citizen, and resident of another country and who has a distinguished record of service to that country in the arts, science and engineering, education, business, environmental protection, government, or any other field. We are particularly focused on welcoming nominations that represent the full diversity of our wonderful international alumni — including race, ethnicity, gender, and age — whose service to their country and community has been extraordinary. The award includes a cash prize of at least US $35,000, an engraved medallion, and travel expenses for the recipient to attend the award presentation at Berkeley’s winter commencement (travel may be restricted based on local, national, and international health restrictions). Please review the past recipients for examples of successful nominations.

The Haas International Award was established in 1964 by Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Haas, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Peter E. Haas, and Mr. and Mrs. Richard N. Goldman. Created to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of Walter, longtime head of Levi Strauss, and his wife, arts patron Elise, the award acknowledges their devotion to UC Berkeley and interest in international affairs. Its presentation at commencement echoes both the global character of Berkeley’s faculty, students, and curricula and the university’s long-standing commitment to improving the human condition around the world.

Ambassador Arnaut receives the Haas International Award from Chancellor Carol T. Christ. Photo by Keegan Houser.

2023 Recipients

Damir Arnaut

Damir Arnaut has dedicated his life and career to strengthening democracy and human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Elected to three terms in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Parliament, he has chaired committees tackling judicial reform, gender equality, and human rights protections while authoring over 20 pieces of legislation focused on a wide array of issues including fighting corruption and abuse of power. In addition to his domestic efforts to create a more just country, Mr. Arnaut also represented Bosnia and Herzegovina abroad as a delegate to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly.

Mr. Arnaut began his legal career in the United States as an attorney at the State Department. He would go on to litigate landmark human rights cases before the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights, later serving as legal advisor to both a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Cabinet of Minister of Security.

As Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ambassador to Australia from 2010–14, Mr. Arnaut's achievements included drafting the unanimous Srebrenica Remembrance Motion commemorating the 1995 genocide. He also negotiated landmark social security protections benefiting citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Australia. A steadfast advocate, Mr. Arnaut has championed LGBTQ equality since the early post-war period when he helped efforts to organize Sarajevo's first Pride parade in 2008. In 2019, he became one of the first Bosnia and Herzegovina officials to march at Sarajevo Pride. Mr. Arnaut's human rights commitment is also reflected in his decade-long fight to overturn discriminatory election laws.

In 2014, Mr. Arnaut was elected to his first term as a member of the House of Representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to his legislative work, Mr. Arnaut has published scholarly articles in international and constitutional law journals, and has spoken at numerous academic conferences, both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and abroad. He holds B.A., M.A., and Juris Doctor degrees, all from UC Berkeley.

Ambassador Arnaut will be presented the award at Winter Commencement on December 16, 2023.

Mariana Mora Bayo

Dr. Mariana Mora Bayo’s pioneering career demonstrates a lifetime of devotion to human rights and social justice. As a researcher and professor at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City since 2011, her fieldwork and research has shed light on struggles for justice against gendered and racialized forms of violence and territorial dispossession in Indigenous and Afro-Mexican regions of Mexico, particularly the states of Chiapas and Guerrero. Additionally, her research focuses on gendered struggles against the continued processes of colonization as part of state formation in Latin America.

Dr. Mora’s work highlights and examines Indigenous activism, exploring the everyday exercise of autonomy and self-determination in Mayan territories that support the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). Her 2017 book Kuxlejal Politics: Indigenous Autonomy, Race and Decolonial Research in Zapatista Communities summarized ten years of her extended research that critically analyzes Zapatista indigenous autonomy. This research directly impacted key juridical debates through her co-authorship of an expert witness report addressing Indigenous collective territorial and land rights before Mexico’s Supreme Court.

Since the 1990s, Dr. Mora’s solidarity work with Zapatista communities has sowed the seeds for her engaged scholarship. As a UC Berkeley undergraduate she supported Mayan autonomous education projects advancing Indigenous rights and women’s participation. This hands-on human rights ethos catalyzed her award-winning doctoral research on Zapatistas Indigenous communities and has resulted in her engaged participation in decolonial feminist networks in Latin America as well as her leading role as a legal anthropologist in Mexico.

A tireless advocate, Dr. Mora’s human rights work against extreme forms of violence in Guerrero, Mexico, including against police brutality and forced disappearances, has contributed to both local and federal justice reforms. Dr. Mora has leveraged her expertise to assist human rights lawyers and policymakers. In addition to presenting cultural affidavits to Mexico’s Supreme Court, she participated in psychosocial reports under the petition of the Group of Interdisciplinary Experts of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission for the case of the 43 Ayotzinapa students, victims of forced disappearance in 2014, as well as worked diligently with Indigenous and Afro-Mexican women’s organizations on elaborating proposals for restorative justice from an intercultural perspective. Through her human rights work and decolonial feminist efforts, she is mentoring new generations of socially committed anthropologists. Dr. Mora frequently writes essays and opinion columns for Mexico newspapers and magazines.

Dr. Mora received her Master's degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin.

Dr. Mora will presented the award at an on-campus ceremony in February 13, 2024.

Nomination Process


April 12, 2024

Eligibility requirements: Alumni who were enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at Berkeley for at least one full year and who are a native, citizen, and resident of another country are eligible for the Haas International Award. (A Berkeley degree is not required.)

Nomination Form

Explain how your nominee’s values and achievements reflect our university or the excellence of a Berkeley education.
Maximum word count 500.
Maximum word count 500.

* required