Newswise — Mallika Dutt ’83, who will receive an honorary degree at Mount Holyoke College’s 175th commencement in May, has been further recognized for her humanitarian work to end domestic violence against women.

Dutt, the founder, president and CEO of human rights organization Breakthrough, is the winner of the first-ever Avon Communication Award. The award, in the category of global excellence in communications, recognizes Dutt's and Breakthrough's innovative work toward ending the global pandemic of violence against women.

Dutt accepted the award at an Avon-sponsored ceremony at the second World Conference of Women's Shelters. The award was presented by Reese Witherspoon, Avon global ambassador and honorary chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women, along with Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products, Inc.

Dutt, a native of India, will receive her honorary degree from MHC on May 20.

"I've been blessed with many awards but this recognition from my alma mater is an honor like no other," said Dutt. "To receive this honor at the 175th commencement of the oldest women's college in the U.S. is beyond incredible, especially because Mount Holyoke has played an integral role at every stage of my life. While I was there, we were told over and over again that we should follow our dreams. And that's exactly what I did."

"Mount Holyoke takes great pride in saluting Mallika Dutt's powerfully effective work as an advocate for human rights across all segments of society," said Lynn Pasquerella, president of MHC. "Her creative and tireless efforts build upon a rigorous education not only at Mount Holyoke but also in international relations and South Asian studies at Columbia and in law at NYU. Her commitment to racial justice, religious understanding, health care, and the rights of women shines through every aspect of Breakthrough's work.”

Based in India and the United States, Breakthrough addresses global issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, immigrant rights, and racial justice.Breakthrough uses multimedia campaigns, social media, pop culture, and community engagement to inspire people to take action for dignity, equality, and justice.

In addition to her Mount Holyoke degree, Dutt received a master's degree in international affairs and South Asian studies from Columbia University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

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