Katie Couric, 2015 IWOC Celebration Honorary Chair
Award-winning journalist and TV personality Katie Couric chaired the Honorary Committee for AWIU’s 2015 International Women of Courage Celebration. In a message to the IWOCs, Couric stated, “Your courage, commitment and tireless work advocating for women and social progress inspire, motivate, and empower all of us to believe that change is possible. You give us the courage to fight for justice, to fight for equality and, ultimately, to fight for a better world.”
The IWOC Celebration began with a reception to welcome the honorees and guests, comprising nearly 200 State Department officials, dignitaries, sponsors, and AWIU members. The atmosphere of the evening was warm, supportive and inspiring, and was set against the backdrop of International Women’s Day.
Catherine M. Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues
During the dinner program, Catherine M. Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, introduced each of the awardees by highlighting their bravery and contribution to the global struggle for women’s rights. “These women have a faith in the future that is inspirational to us all,” said Ambassador Russell, identifying why the IWOC Celebration and the work of the honorees is so meaningful.
IWOC Arbana Xharra of Kosovo
The introduction of these extraordinary women inspired a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd. Speaking on behalf of all the honorees, IWOC Arbana Xharra, a journalist whose early reporting contributed to Kosovo’s nascent democracy, humbly stated, “It is an honor to be recognized for our work and for our struggle. We all share the same concerns.”