2023 International Women of Courage Celebration: A Night of Superheroes and Beautiful Noise

2023 International Women of Courage
2023 IWOCs with Lynette Romero


A Night of Superheroes and Beautiful Noise

March 16th was an evening dedicated to celebrating the collective power of women’s voices. From start to finish, the 16th Annual International Women of Courage Celebrationwas energized by stories of women who have made it their goal to counter inhumanity, injustice and violence with determination and selflessness. In the audience of 250 were nine of the 11 2023 IWOCs, two 2015 IWOCs, U.S. Department of State officials, female executives from sponsoring companies, and AWIU leaders, members and guests, all there to honor the IWOCs who are making the world a better place.

While she could not attend the event, world-renowned journalist and Honorary Committee Chair Andrea Mitchell welcomed the IWOCs on video, recalling when she was in Beijing in 1995 with then-First Lady Hilary Clinton, who declared, “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.“ The Jonathan Club dining room erupted in cheers and a standing ovation, the first of many that night.


AWIU President Maggie Sabbag noted that it was “a thrill to welcome the 2023 honorees back to Los Angeles – in person– for the first time since 2019.”

Co-chairs Cynthy Moffatt and Janey Wetzel spoke about the evolution of the IWOC Celebration, their evolving yet consistently devoted roles in orchestrating the event, thanking the IWOC committee and Celebration sponsors with a call-out to Deloitte for its 13 years of foundational support.

2015 Women of Courage honorees Captain Niloofar Rahmani, the first female fixed-wing pilot in the Afghan Air Force, and journalist Arbana Xharra from Kosovo, recognized for her investigative reporting on government corruption, religious extremism and other critical public concerns.

In the 16th year of partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues on the International Women of Courage Awards, special guests included Acting Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Katrina Fotovat, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges Nicole Elkon and members of their staffs

Emcee for the evening was Lynette Romero, anchor of NBC4’s “Today in LA.” The event was covered on “Today in LA” on Friday morning, with Romero following up in the anchor chair on Monday, March 20th.

The Madeleine Albright Honorary Group Award was presented to the women and girl protesters of Iraq on behalf of the Department of State.

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