The Ralston Prize

Jackson H. Ralston (b. 1857, d. 1945)
Jackson H. Ralston (b. 1857, d. 1945)

The Jackson H. Ralston Prize in International Law


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.

Previous Award Recipients

Louise Arbour

The Honorable Louise Arbour

Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Photo Courtesy: OHRCR

Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi

2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Photographer:  Misha Bruk

Robert S. Mueller

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III

Former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Photographer: Russ Curtis

George J. Mitchell

The Honorable George J. Mitchell

Former U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader
Photographer:  Russ Curtis

Warren Christopher

Warren Christopher, JD ‘49

Former U.S. Secretary of State
Photographer: Marco Zecchin

Helen Suzman

Helen Suzman

Former member of the South African Parliament
Photographer: Marco Zecchin

Vaclav Havel

Václav Havel

Former President of the Czech Republic
Photographer: Linda A. Cicero

Pierre Trudeau

Pierre Elliot Trudeau

Former Prime Minister of Canada
Photographer: Robert A. Isaacs

Oscar Sanchez

Oscar Arias Sanchez

Former President of Costa Rica
Photographer: Robert A. Isaacs

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Former President of the United States
Photographer: Edward W. Souza

Tommy Koh

The Honorable Tommy T. B. Koh

Former Ambassador to the U.S., Republic of Singapore
Photographer: Paul Wood

Olaf Palme

Olaf J. Palme

Former Prime Minister of Sweden
Photographer: Paul Sakuma