At Mount Holyoke College's commencement ceremony in May, Mallika Dutt ’89 received an honorary doctorate in humane letters. Dutt, who earned her BA from Mount Holyoke in 1983, is the founder, president, and CEO of Breakthrough, a human rights organization that uses media, pop culture, and community mobilization to further global dialogue on human rights issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, racial justice, and immigrant rights.

Dutt has also served as the program officer for human rights at the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi Office and acted as the associate director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, and she is a co-founder of Sakhi for South Asian Women, an anti-domestic violence organization that works with the South Asian community in the New York metropolitan area. Dutt has received many awards for her work in the human rights world, including the 2006 Award for Distinguished Service from NYU Law's BLAPA Alumni Association, as well as NYU Law's 1991 Public Interest Law Foundation Alumni Award.

In accepting her honorary degree from Mount Holyoke, Dutt encouraged the 2012 graduating class to take a transformative role in the social issues of today. “It is no longer a time when we fight for equal rights. It is no longer a time when we try to just keep abortion legal in this country. It is no longer a time when we just worry about equal pay for equal work. It is a time when instead of trying to sit at the table or sit at the head of the table, that you actually transform the table," she said.

Watch the full video of Dutt's acceptance speech (3 min):

Posted August 15, 2012