Meridian Honored to Host the 2013 International Women of Courage

On Wednesday, March 6, 2013, Meridian International Center had the unique opportunity and honor to host the recipients of the 2013 International Women of Courage Award, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State. The prestigious Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage (IWOC) annually recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored 46 women from 34 different countries.

This year’s Women of Courage who were able to participate in the Washington, DC program included Malalai Bahaduri, Second Lieutenant, Afghan National Interdiction Unit, Senior Instructor (Afghanistan); Julieta Castellanos, Rector, National Autonomous University of Honduras (Honduras); Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin, President, Campaign for Democracy (Nigeria); Elena Milashina, Journalist, Human Rights Activist (Russia) and Fartuun Adan, Executive Director, Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre (Somalia).

Meridian partnered with public affairs and communications firm DCI Group to host a media workshop for the Awardees which focused on message development and delivery, followed by individualized sessions which served to better prepare the women for interviews and media coverage, both in the U.S. and their home countries. To open this session, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CBS News, Lara Logan, offered brief remarks to the group and discussed her time covering international politics. DCI Group worked with the Awardees on creating, developing and delivering messages effectively and offered individualized “mini-mentoring” sessions to better prepare the women for upcoming media appearances.

Following the media component, Meridian hosted an off-the-record lunch discussion with the International Women of Courage, which included members of the NGO, media and U.S. Government communities and was chaired by Governor James Blanchard, Meridian’s Chairman.

On Friday, March 8th, Meridian’s Council on Women’s Leadership had the opportunity to attend the 2013 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony at the U.S. State Department, hosted by Secretary John Kerry and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman.

The 2013 award recipients are:

  • Malalai Bahaduri, First Sargeant, Afghan National Interdiction Unit (NIU) Senior Instructor (Afghanistan)
  • Julieta Castellanos, Rector, National Autonomous University of Honduras (Honduras)
  • Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin, President, Campaign for Democracy (Nigeria)
  • Elena Milashina, Journalists and Human Rights Activist (Russia)
  • Fartuun Adan, Executive Director, Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre (Somalia)
  • Tsering Woeser (Wei Se), Tibetan author, poet, blogger (China) *
  • Razan Zeitunah, Human rights lawyer and Founder, Local Coordination Committees (Syria) *
  • Ta Phong Tan, Blogger (Vietnam) *
  • Nirbhaya “Fearless”, champion for justice (India) **

* Will be awarded in absentia. ** Will be awarded posthumously.

For full bios and photos of the International Women of Courage, visit: http://www.state.gov/s/gwi/programs/iwoc/2013/bio/index.htm

 

Project summary

Meridian Honored to Host the 2013 International Women of Courage
Number of Visitors: 9
Regions: Europe and Eurasia, Africa, Western Hemisphere
Countries: Nigeria, Somalia, Honduras, Russia, Afghanistan
Impact Areas: Empowering Women and Girls, Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship
Program Areas: Exchanges, Forums
Partners: Private Sector, Public Sector