Roy Prosterman accepts Kravis Leadership Prize

May 6, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif.

Faculty, alumni, students and dignitaries gathered for the Kravis Leadership Prize Award Ceremony in honor of Professor Prosterman.

The Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership celebrates boldness, innovation, creativity, consistency, persistence, and effectiveness in non-profit leadership. It will be given annually beginning in 2006, awarding recognition to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary achievement over time in the non-profit sector. $250,000 will be directed to a not-for-profit organization designated by the award recipient.

Prosterman founded the Rural Development Institute (RDI) twenty-five years ago to institutionalize the work he began in the mid-1960s, fighting one of the chief structural causes of global poverty—rural landlessness. With passion and professionalism, the young attorney attracted a small team who shared his vision and his commitment. As a result of Prosterman’s leadership, RDI has become an extraordinarily effective advocate for international land law and policy reform. Based in Seattle, with field offices in China, India, and Indonesia, RDI attorneys and staff have worked with the governments of 40 developing nations, foreign aid agencies, and other partners to design and implement fundamental legal, policy and programmatic reforms to help the world’s rural poor.

Described by a nominator as a “worldwide champion of land rights for the world’s poor,” Prosterman’s leadership of RDI has included work in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America. Through a comprehensive understanding of rural land issues and the interaction among financial, land, and labor markets the work of Prosterman and RDI has resulted in more than 400 million people gaining ownership or ownership-like rights to more than 90 million acres of land.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, where he served on the Harvard Law Review board of editors, and the University of Chicago, Prosterman joined the faculty of the UW School of Law in 1965 and was named the first John and Marguerite Walker Corbally Professor in Public Service in 1991. He has been director of the law school’s post-doctoral program in Law of Sustainable International Development.

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