Linda Biehl was the first Greeley Scholar. She cofounded and directs the Amy Biehl Foundation in the United States and the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in South Africa. The foundation of those organizations are rooted in her daughter’s life and death.
Amy Biehl was a dynamic, 26-year-old Stanford University graduate who in 1993 was awarded a 10-month Fulbright Scholarship to study the role of women and gender rights during South Africa’s transition from the racist, brutal apartheid regime to a free, multiracial democracy. Just days before she was due home, Amy was killed in an act of political violence by a group of young, black South Africans who were fighting to end apartheid and saw all whites as their oppressors.
Justice is central to Linda Biehl’s message of peace and reconciliation. Four years after Amy’s death, her killers applied for amnesty to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Linda Biehl and her husband did not oppose their application and, in fact, supported their amnesty request, which was later granted by the TRC.
In the spirit of Desmond Tutu, Linda Biehl and the Amy Biehl Foundation embrace restorative, rather than retributive, justice. She has since built a relationship with two of the young men, convicted for the death of her daughter. Today, those men, Ntobeko Peni and Easy Nofemela, have become tremendous Linda Biehl Greeley Scholar 2008 for Peace Studies social activists in their community and currently work for the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in South Africa, reaching more than 1,500 schoolchildren each week.
During her tenure as the Greeley Scholar, Biehl was awarded the Medal of the Order of the Supreme Companions of O.R. Tambo, South Africa’s highest honor for a non-South African. She is also the recipient of the Aline and Norman Felton Humanitarian Award, and has been recognized by the Restorative Justice Centre.