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 families in countries around the globe. Since 2008, AWIU has partnered with the State Department to support this outstanding program. It is AWIU’s privilege to host an annual celebration that acknowledges these International Women of Courage, their personal stories and their work. Each of the awardees receives a monetary grant from AWIU to support continued efforts in her home country.
IWOC Co-Chair, Kathy LeRoy
AWIU members traveled from across the US to attend the 6th Annual IWOC Celebration and welcome the International Women of Courage awardees to America. The evening began with IWOC Co-Chair Kathy LeRoy welcoming honorees and guests and asking everyone to join in toasting AWIU’s 45th anniversary. A musical tribute to the IWOC honorees was performed by The Dan Dufford Trio and included AWIU’s signature song “What You Take Away.”
MC Leslie Schweitzer and AWIU President Kathleen Hunt
Serving as Mistress of Ceremonies was Leslie M. Schweitzer, Chairman and President of the Friends of American University of Afghanistan Foundation and an AWIU member. Ms. Schweitzer introduced this year’s Salute Group, a non-profit organization chosen for its work in international affairs. Thunderbird for Good, of Thunderbird School of Global Management, was honored for 2013. A special thank you was extended to lead Corporate Sponsor, Deloitte Consulting LLP, for its continued support of AWIU and the International Women of Courage Celebration. Also recognized were Raco Industrial Corporation, Sterling International Group, Sodexo, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, PlanetPix, Dowitcher Designs and first time sponsor, Dell Computers.
Sharon Wiener, Acting Ambassador-at-Large with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, introduced each of this year’s IWOC honorees, with a description of the exceptional work for which they were being recognized. The 2013 International Women of Courage are: First Sergeant Malalai Bahaduri, Afghanistan; Tsering Woeser, China; Julieta Castellanos, Honduras; Nirbhaya, India; Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin, Nigeria; Elena Milashina, Russia; Fartuun Adan, Somalia; Razan Zeitunah, Syria; and Ta Phong Tan, Vietnam. Dr. Odumakin of Nigeria spoke on behalf of the awardees, and her impassioned remarks received a standing ovation.