American Women for International Understanding is pleased to announce that our Honorary Chair for the International Women of Courage Celebration 2019 is Norah O’Donnell, an award-winning journalist and advocate for women.

Ms. O’Donnell will join a list of other distinguished women on the Honorary Committee offering their support to AWIU’s Celebration in the spring of 2019. The exact date of the International Women of Courage Celebration will be determined by the US Department of State in early February 2019, but our committee is honored to work with Ms. O’Donnell as we plan our event.

Norah O’Donnell is the co-host of “CBS This Morning.” She also contributes to “60 Minutes.” O’Donnell joined “CBS This Morning” in July 2012. Prior to that, she served as CBS News Chief White House Correspondent. As a journalist for more than two decades, she has covered six presidential elections and traveled around the globe to interview some of the world’s most notable figures.

Since joining “CBS This Morning,” O’Donnell has conducted numerous interviews with newsmakers including President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama, Vice President Mike Pence, and Speaker Paul Ryan. She has sat down with some of the world’s most influential leaders including South Korean President Moon Jae-in, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, and the Dalai Lama. In March, O’Donnell spent a week reporting in Saudi Arabia where she interviewed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The conversation was his first American television interview. The last time a Saudi leader gave an interview to a U.S. network was in 2005. She won The Merriman Smith Memorial Award for excellence in presidential news coverage for her exclusive “60 Minutes” interview with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden on his decision not to run for president in 2016. O’Donnell also landed exclusive interviews with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise for “60 Minutes” and an interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the height of the league’s domestic violence scandal. She covered the historic election of Pope Francis in Vatican City as well as his first Apostolic Voyage to the United States. She also reported from the scenes of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Houston; the country’s worst mass shooting in Las Vegas; the terror attack in San Bernardino, and the Boston Marathon bombing. She was also part of the CBS News team that received an Alfred I. DuPont Award for the network’s coverage of the 2012 Newtown massacre.

O’Donnell earned a Gracie Award and was named best national news on-air talent for the year 2018 and 2016. Her reporting on sexual assaults in the United States Air Force Academy was nominated for an Emmy award and won an honorable mention in the Edgar A. Poe Award from the White House Correspondents’ Association. She was also named “Broadcaster of the Year” by the New York State Broadcasters Association in 2014 and received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast of 2017. Prior to joining CBS News, O’Donnell worked for more than a decade at NBC News, where she covered the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House. Her assignments took her around the globe: she reported from every continent except Antarctica with the either the President of the United States or the Secretary of Defense.

O’Donnell has covered a number of breaking news stories throughout her career. She reported from the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001, and received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Breaking News Coverage for a “Dateline NBC” story titled, “D.C. In Crisis.” In the months following the attacks, she traveled extensively with then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, including on his first trip to Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks.

O’Donnell was NBC News White House Correspondent during the 2004 presidential elections, covering the campaigns of then-President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. Prior to covering the White House, O’Donnell was NBC News Congressional Correspondent, reporting on the lead-up to the Iraq War. She also covered the 2000 presidential campaign. In all, O’Donnell has covered six presidential campaigns and reported from every political convention since then.

She began her career as a print reporter for Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, for which she covered the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and traveled the country covering congressional elections.

A firm believer in empowering women, O’Donnell sits on the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Born into a military family, O’Donnell grew up in San Antonio, Texas; Landstuhl, Germany; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy as well as a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. She is married to Geoff Tracy, a restaurateur in Washington, D.C. They have three children.

Inviting AWIU Members To AWIU Board Meeting on July 13 at 9AM, Hotel Santa Fe

Attend The AWIU Board Meeting As Well As Enjoy The 15th Annual

International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe

The World’s Largest Folk Art Festival Celebrates 15 Years Featuring more than 150 Master Artists from More than 50 Countries and Nobel Peace Prize-Winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus as Honorary Chair

July 13, 14 and 15, 2018
Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hotel Santa Fe: Make your Hotel Reservations Today

Our Negotiated Rate Will Expire On June 11, 2018

Purchase MEMBER Board Meeting including LUNCH: July 13 at 9AM

Purchase GUEST Luncheon ($30, July 13) after the board meeting

For A Three-Day Experience at the Festival Purchase your Vip Tickets Now

VIP TICKETS: $225.00: Cut-off date is June 22

This package is not available online. Tickets to the Gala include admission to two museums on Museum Hill that you can enjoy on Saturday: The Indian Museum and the International Museum of Folk Art. Those museums have Saturday lectures (included in the VIP tickets). The VIP ticket includes re-admission to the market Saturday and Sunday and possible additional events. Attendance is not mandatory but is highly enjoyable.

You may also purchase individual day tickets if you are not purchasing the VIP ticket

Join us for a time of Conversation, Networking, Q&A and Youth international experiences stories by ArieSweetCo-Founder of Aliah Sweet Fragile Hearts Foundation and Kris GrimesSystems Specialists, Orbasis Solutions, Inc. This is a special event for youth, young adults (17- 39 years old), parents, youth advocates, and counselors.

Keynote Guest, Heather Joy Johnson, Esq. U.S. Department of State, Diplomat in Residence will share information about the Internships and Careers offered by the U.S. Department of State and the:

  • Nuts and bolts of International Relations and Diplomacy
  • Inside tips on how to prepare for the Foreign Service Officer’s examination
  • Application process for Summer and Year-round internship programs

FREE EVENT – registration required
Light Refreshments will be served.

DATE AND TIME
Sat, February 24, 2018
10:30 AM – 1:00 PM PST

Mount Saint Mary’s University-Doheny Campus
10 Chester Place – Building 10
Los Angeles, CA 90007

For info contact 323-292-7006
RSVP to global.internationalcareers@gmail.com

American Women for International Understanding is pleased to announce that our Honorary Chair for the International Women of Courage Celebration 2018 is Lisa Ling, an award-winning journalist, author and advocate for women. Ms. Ling will join a list of other distinguished women on the Honorary Committee offering their support to AWIU’s Celebration in the spring of 2018. The exact date of the International Women of Courage Celebration will be determined by the US Department of State in early February 2018, but our committee is honored to work with Ms. Ling as we plan our event.

Lisa Ling recently wrapped her fourth season the CNN Original Series, “This is Life with Lisa Ling.” In each episode, she immerses herself in communities that are unusual, extraordinary and sometimes dangerous, giving viewers an inside look at some of America’s most unconventional segments of society and some of its most important issues. In 2017, the series won a Gracie Award for Excellence in Media.

Ling is also the host of the new CNN digital series, “This is Sex with Lisa Ling,” where she explores the taboos around sex in America and the ways in which sexuality has been stigmatized, policed and politicized.

Before coming to CNN, Ling was a field correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and contributor to ABC News’ “Nightline” and National Geographic’s “Explorer.” She has reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, among other issues that are too often ignored.

Ling got her start in journalism as a correspondent for Channel One News where she covered the civil war in Afghanistan at 21 years of age. She later went on to become a co-host of ABC Daytime’s hit show “The View,” which won its first daytime Emmy during her time at the show. Ling has also served as a special correspondent for CNN’s “Planet in Peril” series and is a contributing editor for USA Today’s USA Weekend magazine. In 2011, her acclaimed documentary journalism series, “Our America with Lisa Ling,” began airing on OWN.

Ling is the co-author of “Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood” and “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home,” which she penned with her sister, Laura. In 2014, President Obama named Ling to the Commission on White House Fellows.

Ling resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two daughters and father. The International Women of Courage Celebration Committee thanks Ms. Ling for her support of this AWIU event and her advocacy on behalf of women leaders around the world.

At the 10th Annual International Women of Courage Celebration, Ms. Fadia Najib Thabet of Yemen, an activist working to reintegrate former child soldiers of Al Qaeda and Houthi militias into society, brought the crowd to their collective feet when she declared, “The women sitting in front of you have all fought. We have chosen to tell our stories with compassion, resilience and bravery. To all the women here, you are part of our journey and fight. Each of us has a mission to accomplish. We still have a lot to do. But this time I am not going to walk alone. We will walk side by side. Holding each other’s hands. We are feminists, we are powerful, we are intelligent and we are a movement.”

Her stirring speech was one of the highlights of this year’s International Women of Courage Celebration hosted by the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) held April 6, 2017 at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles to a sold-out crowd of 280. This year marked the second time the AWIU event was held in Southern California in collaboration with the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and the International Visitors Council Los Angeles. The standing ovation underscored the warm, supportive and electric atmosphere of the evening as AWIU honored 13 International Women of Courage (IWOCs), 10 in attendance, for their work against gender-based violence, government corruption and the effects of long-term war on women and children.

Fellow IWOC honoree, Ms. Rebecca Kabugho from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, recognized for her key role in a series of peaceful protests demanding that the Congolese government hold credible elections, reiterated Ms. Thabet’s sentiments. She spoke about the strong bond the 2017 IWOCs shared and how that sisterhood was an invaluable tool for moving forward in their work. Speaking about her hopes for the future of her country, Ms. Kabugho said, “I hope that all the women who are here will fight to change their countries. We can change the Congo. We can change the world. Without us, it will not be done. Hand in hand, we will make the world a better place.”

See the complete list of 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage.

The International Women of Courage Award was established by the U.S. Department of State in 2007 to honor women who demonstrate exceptional courage in making a substantial difference in the lives of others around the globe. Honorees traveled to the United States for an award ceremony at the U.S.Department of State in Washington, D.C. in late March and then traveled individually to different states on an International Visitors Leadership Program. At the end of their visit to the United States, the IWOCs then reconvened in Los Angeles for a debriefing, a panel presentation and the AWIU IWOC Celebration.

On hand from the U.S. Department of State to introduce the International Women of Courage was Ms. Betty Bernstein-Zazba, Senior Advisor and Director of Operations in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. “Each woman’s story is an inspiring reminder of how individuals can make a difference. Taken together, they provide a powerful message of courage and leadership. Women can make a difference in promoting greater peace, economic growth, and progress.” Joining Ms. Bernstein-Zabza was her colleague from the U.S. Department of State, Ms. Stacy White, the Director of the Office of International Visitors in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Other highlights of the night included the presentation of AWIU’s Internationalism Award to Ms. Anita DeFrantz, the first American woman and the first African American to be named to the International Olympic Committee. Ms. DeFrantz was honored for her lifetime of work to increase opportunities for women around the globe through sports and for her advocacy against slavery. Ms. DeFrantz could not be at the event because she was travelling in support of the LA2024 Olympic Bid, but in a video she expressed her thanks to AWIU and her admiration for all the International Women of Courage, adding, “You lift me up.”

The Bernice Behrens Founders Award was given to Diane McGlinchey by AWIU president Carol Robertson Lopez. Diane McGlinchey has been a dedicated member of AWIU for over a decade, serving in almost every role including President. Her commitment to the work of AWIU flows from a lifetime spent in service to fellow women and to her country. She thanked fellow AWIU members for their service and their friendship, adding, “Let us move forward knowing that the collective power of women—well organized, passionate and respectful—is unstoppable.”

Honorary Chairwoman Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments, also sent a video, addressing the IWOCs directly saying, “Your stories of grit, determination, perseverance and courage are reminders to all women that with a measure of bravery, you can change the world. And they are stories that need to be told.”

As part of AWIU’s mission to build bridges of international understand and support women’s causes, the organization provided each honoree with a grant. In honor of AWIU’s 50th anniversary year, the grants for 2017 International Women of Courage were our largest ever, as a sign of the organization’s half-century commitment to of improving the lives of women all over the globe. Event Chair Maggie Sabbag thanked all the guests for their vital support, “We are deeply grateful to our sponsors and patrons. Because of their generosity, AWIU awards each woman a monetary grant to continue her good work and make a positive difference in our world. Many thanks for supporting the Celebration and all the good that flows from it.”

The event was made possible through the support of sponsors committed to global issues, including a number of AWIU members. A special thanks to Madvi Raya for committing at the Freedom & Equality Level and members Nancy Annick, Martha A. Atherton, Susan Chandler, Carole Lewis, Onma Lwin, Cynthy Moffatt, Maggie Sabbag and Jane Mursener Wetzel for contributing at the Empowerment through Education level.

Deloitte was the presenting sponsor for the seventh consecutive year and provided volunteers to staff the event. Other sponsors included Ariel Investments; LA2024; Nestle; Wells Fargo; The Walt Disney Company; CBRE; UCLA Anderson School of Management; and US News & World Report.

AWIU member and Mistress of Ceremonies Cynthy Moffatt said afterwards, “From start to finish, the evening was charged with enthusiasm, passion and admiration for the International Women of Courage. The guests loved being able to interact with the honorees one-on-one and hear their stories and personal messages firsthand. The experience was eye-opening for so many of us and incredibly moving and inspiring. I think the sustained standing ovation all received at the conclusion of the program really touched the honorees.”

Wednesday, April 19th the AWIU in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State hosted the third annual Career Opportunities for International Relations Symposium. The initial program convened in the Loy Henderson Auditorium. After registration AWIU President Carol Lopez welcomed the more than 150 women to the event. Shawna Thomas of Vice News then proceeded moderate the Women Impacting the World Conversation.  Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Dr. Jacqueline Wilson, Principal, Civic Fusion International, along with Sheila Crowley, Acting Director of the Peace Corps shared their personal insights and experiences as professionals in the realm of global interactions.

The second phase of the program was the Interagency Panel. Retired, Senior Foreign Service Officer, Ramona Harper moderated the panel including Noreen Jameel of Vice Media, Naomi Pizaro of the National Endowment for Democracy, Evelyn Rodriguez-Perez of USAID, Andi Gitow of the United Nations Information Center, and Desiree M. Cormier of the Albright Stonebridge Group. Beyond the personal testimonies shared by the panelists, guest were able to ask questions of both panels and engage on an even deeper level. After a short break, guest met alongside the panelists in the Exhibit Hall for lunch. Keynote Speaker Melanne Verveer, the Executive Director of Georgetown Institution for Women and Peace and Security, spoke on her work on foreign policy initiatives as well, her experience traveling to nearly 60 countries to promote the economic advancement and social elevation of women and girls around the world. Guest later received a copy of Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose, a book co-authored by Melanne Verveer. Guest then broke out into groups the Networking/ Mentor groups where they met with professionals who were experts in their given fields. COIR founder and AWIU member Diane Mitchell Henry along with Co-Chair Judy Torres, a Recruiter for the U.S. Department of State gave closing remarks followed by a tour of the U.S. Diplomacy Center.

The American Women for International Understanding is honored to announce that the 2017 Internationalism Award recipient is Anita DeFrantz, an Olympian and member of the International Olympic Committee who is an advocate for equality and opportunity for women through sports, both in the United States and across the globe. The AWIU Internationalism Award is presented to individuals who have addressed concerns and issues facing women worldwide. The commitment and work of the individuals have set them apart by every standard. Recipients have exhibited international support for women’s issues and contributed to worldwide understanding, raised awareness of global concerns, and fostered and encouraged cross-cultural dialogue. AWIU will present the Internationalism Award at the International Women of Courage Celebration in Los Angeles on April 6, 2017.

Ms. DeFrantz is a member of the International Olympic Committee and the IOC Executive Board. She serves on the Juridical Commission of the IOC, which is made up of lawyers, and on the Finance Commission, which reviews the investments and spending plans.

Before she joined the ranks of the IOC, DeFrantz captained the U.S. women’s rowing team and rowed in the eight that won a bronze medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. DeFrantz served as Vice President of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and was elected to IOC membership in 1986, making her not only the first African-American but also the first American woman to serve on the committee.

In 1987, DeFrantz began her 28-year role stewarding the legacy of 1984 LA Games as president of the LA84 Foundation, which received 40% of the 1984 proceeds. Over the past 30 years, the LA84 Foundation has invested more than $225 million to support more than 2,000 youth sports organizations, and it continues to provide Los Angeles youth with recreation and sports opportunities.

In 1992, she was elected a member of the IOC Executive Board. In 1997, she became the organization’s first female vice president, a position she held until 2001. From 1989-1994 she served on the IOC’s Summer Program Commission, which determines which sports will be included in Olympic competition. In 1995, she became chair of the IOC’s Women and Sports Commission. She is credited with getting women’s softball and soccer added to the Olympic ticket.

Currently, she is president of the Tubman Truth Corp., an organization working to provide liberty and justice for all people trapped in slavery and human trafficking.  She also serves on LA 2024, the Los Angeles bid committee for the 2024 summer Olympic Games, as the LA 2024 Senior Adviser for Legacy.

DeFrantz received her B.A. from Connecticut College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for her contributions to international sports, gender equity and creating a level playing field for athletes at home and globally.

Awiu In Collaboration With U.S. Department of State Presents 3rd Annual Symposium on Career Opportunities for International Relations

American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will present its 3rd Annual AWIU Career Opportunities for International Relations (COIR) Symposium on April 19, 2017 at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

The AWIU COIR Symposium gives young women an opportunity to learn about international careers and meet with contemporary global leaders. AWIU and DOS COIR committee members are excited about offering another year of notable keynote speakers, panelists, recruiters and career facilitators representing government agencies, NGO’s, corporate, sports, media and the arts.

Plans are underway to host 200 high school seniors, college and young professional women for this invitational event. Youth participants will have the opportunity to network, gain knowledge and information about international careers and internships, interface with recruiters and engage in discussions with other youth about their personal global experiences and journeys. Materials and lunch will be provided. There is no charge to attend the COIR Symposium.

American Women For International Understanding Hosts Career Opportunities For International Relations Symposium At The U.S. Department of State

American Women for International Understanding, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), presented the 2nd Annual AWIU Career Opportunities for International Relations (COIR) Symposium on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm at the Department of State, in the George C. Marshall Conference Center, 2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Shawn Dorman, Director of Publication, American Foreign Service Association and Editor of Inside a U.S. Embassy: How Foreign Service Works and Diane Mitchell Henry, Founder/Co-Chair, American Women for International Understanding Career Opportunities for International Relations.

AWIU promotes woman to-woman interaction and understanding worldwide. The AWIU COIR Symposium gives young women an opportunity to learn about international careers and engage with today’s leaders in the field. The AWIU and DOS COIR Committee is excited about this year’s theme “Passing the Baton.” Career panels during the day’s events focused on early career development for both public and private sector job opportunities. Eighty young women, ranging from high school seniors to young professionals, attended the event. Presenters included State Department Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, State Department Counselor Kristie Kenney, former U.S. Representative Diane Watson and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Carol Perez, who shared valuable advice on how to become empowered female leaders.

This is an invitational event for high school seniors, college and young professional women. Participants had the opportunity to experience a full day of gaining knowledge and information about international careers.

“I call on you, my Sisters of Courage, to find five girls to mentor and through these girls, we will build a better world,” Vicky Ntetema, an International Women of Courage honoree from Tanzania, challenged her fellow honorees and the audience of 300 at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles on April 7th. Her stirring speech was one of the highlights of the American Women for International Understanding’s 9th Annual International Women of Courage Celebration. The inspired crowd rose to its feet after Ms. Ntetema, a journalist- turned- human rights advocate, concluded. The standing ovation underscored the warm, supportive and electric atmosphere of the evening.

This year marked the 9th annual Celebration for American Women for International Understanding and the first time the event was held in Southern California in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and the International Visitors Council Los Angeles. The International Women of Courage 2016 represented 14 countries with 11 IWOCs in attendance for the Celebration. The women were honored for their advocacy and activism in a broad range of fields supporting women’s issues around the globe, from human rights advocacy to interfaith activism to mental health support.

The International Women of Courage Award was established by the U.S. Department of State in 2007 to honor women who are making a substantial difference in the lives of other women around the globe. Honorees traveled to the U.S. for an award ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC in late March and then traveled as a group to different states on an International Visitors Leadership Program. The IWOCs ended their stay in the United States in Los Angeles. Catherine Russell, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues was on hand to introduce each of the women at the Celebration and Deputy Assistant Secretary Karen Richardsonl spoke about the importance of working on women’s empowerment issues in terms of overall global stability.

Other highlights of the night included the presentation of the Bernice Behrens Founders Award to former AWIU president Carole Lewis by current president Carol Robertson Lopez. Harriet Fulbright was honored with the Internationalism Award for her commitment to education and the arts. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who created the International Women of Courage awards in 2007, sent a video message to the IWOCs, congratulating the women on their bravery and courage and encouraged them to keep in touch with one another after they returned home and to find other women to mentor. Honorary Chair Lesley Stahl of CBS News, who also sent a video for the event, called the IWOCS “fearless and dauntless” and commented, “It’s important that these women know that we are listening.”

As part of AWIU’s mission to build bridges of international understand and support women’s causes, the organization provided each honoree with a grant. Certificates were awarded on the night of the Celebration. Event Chair Sarah Shelton thanked the guests and sponsors from the stage for their vital support, “It is the privilege of AWIU to award every International Woman of Courage with a monetary grant so that she can return back to her native country and continue her important work. We believe the difference we make by providing grants to these extraordinary women allows them to make differences that change lives and change the world.”

Leslie Schweitzer, an AWIU member and Chairman and President of the Friends of the American University in Afghanistan, emceed the event and said afterwards, “AWIU truly does make a difference in addressing women’s issues worldwide. I am so honored to be part of it year after year. Traditionally the Celebration has been held in DC and holding it in LA this year was a wonderful change. There was so much energy in the room and the support for the incredible awardees was extraordinary.”

The event was made possible through the support of sponsors committed to global issues, including a number of AWIU members. A special thanks to Madvi Raya for committing at the Freedom & Equality Level and members Carole Lewis, Cynthy Moffatt, Margaret Heflin Sabbag and Jane Mursener Wetzel for contributing at the Empowerment through Education level.

Deloitte who was the presenting sponsor for the sixth consecutive year and provided volunteers to staff the event. Other sponsors included Nestle; The Walt Disney Company; CBRE; Davidoff Hutcher & Citron; Georgetown University; Friends of the American University in Afghanistan; National Geographic; Providence Foundations; Satellite Sisters; UCLA Anderson School of Management; USC Marshall School of Business; US News & World Report and Wells Fargo.