International Women Of Courage Celebration 2015:
Inspiring Women; Inspiring Words
The 2015 International Women of Courage at the International Women of Courage Celebration presented by the American Women for International Understanding.
For a complete list of Bio’s
“These women have a faith in the future that is inspirational to us all, ” said Catherine Russell, the US Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues identifying why the International Women of Courage Celebration and the work of the Honorees is so meaningful. She spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 as the American Women for International Understanding presented the 8th Annual International Women of Courage Celebration at the National Press Club in Washington DC. Her words were met with hearty applause from the IWOC Honorees themselves, as well as other dignitaries, State Department officials, AWIU members, tables of sponsors and students. The atmosphere of the evening was warm, supportive and inspiring, set against the backdrop of International Women’s Day.
The U.S. Department of State established the International Women of Courage Award (IWOC) in 2007 to honor women who are making a substantial difference in the lives of women in countries around the globe. In 2008, AWIU collaborated with the State Department to support this outstanding program. Since inception of the award, the Department of State and AWIU have honored more than 80 women from 49 countries.
This year’s event honored ten extraordinary women from around the globe. In 2015, women from the following countries were honored: Afghanistan; Bangladesh, Bolivia; Burma; Central African Republic; Guinea; Japan; Kosovo; Pakistan and Syria.
For 47 years, AWIU has worked to promote woman-to-woman interaction and understanding worldwide through meaningful visits, grants, and educational support. Each of the 2015 IWOC Honorees receives a monetary grant from AWIU to support their continued efforts in their home country.
Event Chairman Cynthy Moffatt described the Celebration by saying, “AWIU is truly honored to in collaborate with the U.S. State Department in annually recognizing these amazing women. Their stories also bring into focus how lucky we are to live in the United States. AWIU is so pleased to be able to provide each of the awardees with a grant to help further her efforts in her home country.”
Award-winning journalist and TV personality Katie Couric chaired the 2015 Honorary Committee. The AWIU Internationalism Award was presented to Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and expert on global health systems and the spread of deadly viruses, from AIDS to Ebola. Jane Mursener Wetzel was named the Bernice Behrens Award recipient for her outstanding leadership of AWIU.
While accepting her award, Laurie Garrett, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, brought the crowd to their feet when she spoke about the human cost of outbreaks like Ebola in terms of discrimination against the victims instead of focus on the microbe. It was a rousing speech that resonated with many in the audience who worked in the health field in their countries, especially the IWOC from Guinea, Marie Claire Tchecola, herself a nurse and Ebola survivor.
This year marked the fifth year for Global Leadership Sponsor Deloitte. They were recognized for their commitment to inclusivity and diversity and for being a leader in their industry in promoting the talents of women in the work environment. Beth Thiebault, an Honorary Committee member and Principal, Chief Inclusion Leader of Deloitte added, “This was my first opportunity to participate in this event and what a wonderful experience. It really puts in perspective the potential and impact all of us as individuals can have on the world with passion and persistence. Deloitte is lucky to have the opportunity to have a part in such a great program.”
The Bridges of Understanding Sponsor Raco and founder Martha Atherton were recognized for their continued support and for providing the first matching grant for AWIU. Other sponsors supporting the event include; Nestle‘ USA; Friends of the American University of Afghanistan; The National Geographic Society; One Global Mediation; US News & World Report and media partner Satellite Sisters.
The introduction of the ten extraordinary women who demonstrated exceptional leadership and courage in advocating women’s rights and helping to transform their societies despite tremendous challenges inspired a prolonged standing ovation. Afterwards, Arbana Xharra, the IWOC from Kosovo and a journalist whose early reporting contributed to the strengthening of Kosovo’s nascent democracy, spoke on behalf of all the honorees, “It is an honor to be recognized for our work and for our struggle. We all share the same concerns. “
Related Post: US News & World Report coverage of IWOC Celebration