Patrick Ball wins the Karl E. Peace Award

Patrick Ball receiving the Karl E. Peace Award from Lisa LaVange, President of the ASA, 2018. Photo courtesy of ASA.

We are so proud of Patrick, who received the Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society at this year’s Joint Statistical Meeting. The award recognizes statisticians “…who have made substantial contributions to the statistical profession, contributions that have led in direct ways to improving the human condition.”

In presenting the award, Ron Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association, said, “Patrick Ball is an extraordinary individual whose work spans an area often ignored yet incredibly important to our statistics community and to the world at large. Since the early 1990s, Patrick has brought fresh approaches to data analysis of human rights crises. He has a unique ability to really target the biases in the collection, formats, and analysis of human rights data.”

His nominators say that “Patrick Ball has done more than anyone we know to use statistics for social justice.”

Patrick’s generosity in sharing his time and expertise was a common theme among the colleagues who recommended him for the prize. Naomi Roht-Arriaza, professor of law at University of California, Hastings, put it this way: “Patrick continues to enthusiastically support efforts to combat impunity in many parts of the world, giving his time generously to advocates, working with local groups, teaching and explaining.  He has managed as well to maintain a sense of humility, empathy, enthusiasm and (dare I say it?) fun even while working with terrible events.  I can’t think of anyone worthier of this prize.”

Fred Abrahams from Human Rights Watch, offered: “Through it all, Patrick showed a deep knowledge of the statistical elements – educating us all – but also what’s needed to present convincing and compelling human rights material. At all times then and since, he has proven overly generous with his time and expertise, provoking productive thoughts, pushing new ideas, and radically professionalizing the human rights field.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. As our colleagues lavish praise on Patrick, I’m reminded of so many of the things we love to do at HRDAG: support the efforts of others, teach, explain, target biases and push new ideas. I’m so thankful to the ASA—and to the friends and colleagues who organized the nomination—not only for this worthy recognition of Patrick’s work, but for the reminder of why we at HRDAG do what we do. Congratulations Patrick!

Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.