Office of the Spokesperson
March 28, 2017
First Lady Melania Trump and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon will present the 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award to a group of extraordinary women from around the world tomorrow at the U.S. Department of State.
The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored over 100 women from more than 60 different countries.
The 2017 awardees are:
- Sharmin Akter, Activist Against Early/ Forced Marriage, Bangladesh
- Malebogo Molefhe, Human Rights Activist, Botswana
- Natalia Ponce de Leon, President, Natalia Ponce de Leon Foundation, Colombia
- Rebecca Kabugho, Political and Social Activist, Democratic Republic of Congo
- Jannat Al Ghezi, Deputy Director of The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
- Major Aichatou Ousmane Issaka, Deputy Director of Social Work at the Military Hospital of Niamey, Niger
- Veronica Simogun, Director and Founder, Family for Change Association, Papua New Guinea
- Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, Lawyer and Founder of Not One Woman Less, Peru
- Sandya Eknelygoda, Human Rights Activist, Sri Lanka
- Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Member, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), Syria
- Saadet Ozkan, Educator and Gender Activist, Turkey
- Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Blogger and Environmental Activist, Vietnam
- Fadia Najib Thabet, Human Rights Activist, Yemen
Full biographies and photos are available here.
On April 1, the honorees will travel to cities across the United States to engage with the American people through an International Visitor Leadership Program. They will visit Atlanta, Denver, Des Moines, Minneapolis, New York, Pensacola, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, and Tampa on their individual programs. The women will reconvene in Los Angeles to reflect on their visit and discuss ways to work together to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.
Use #WomenOfCourage for news and updates about this year’s award.
For more information on these events, contact Maryum Saifee at SaifeeMF@state.gov.