What We Do
AWIU supports and advocates for the work that women leaders and female-oriented non-profit organizations are doing around the world to build a more just, economically-sound and humane society.
Founded in 1968, AWIU has sponsored more than 100 delegations to countries in six out of seven continents. We were the first delegation of women permitted to enter Russia in 1968, China in 1973, and Saudi Arabia in 2002 as well as the first delegation of American women to visit Libya in 2009 in 40 years. In June 2012, we sent a delegation to the Balkans, which met with women leaders and organizations working to heal and empower women and their families in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars of the ‘90’s. Our most recent delegation was to Nicaragua in November 2017.
Central to AWIU’s mission is its commitment to strengthening the work of women across the world through grants. At its inception, almost fifty years ago, AWIU issued grants for individual women, which enabled them to travel to the United States for study. In recent years, with such great changes in travel and communications, AWIU’s grant program now focuses upon issuing micro-grants to women’s groups, or groups which enhance the wellbeing of women within a developing country.
International Women of Courage Celebration
Since 2008, AWIU has presented the International Women of Courage Celebration in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State. The evening gala honors the extraordinary women selected by the State Department from around the globe for their courageous and selfless efforts advocating for peace, justice, human rights and women’s equality, often in the face of great personal risk. Each of the awardees receives a monetary grant from AWIU to support her continued leadership efforts in her home country.
AWIU has member chapters across the United States, with some located in specific cities and others that meet virtually over the internet. Chapters hold meetings and events to educate and inform attendees about vital international issues. Visit our chapter pages above to find information on chapter leadership and recent events. Both members and non-members can attend chapter events.
Our Online Conversations series features women leaders who are working with women and youth to build leadership and overcome social and economic obstacles around the world. As part of our ongoing mission to educate and inform, we talk to our grantees and our International Women of Courage honorees around the world to be uploaded on their work. And we speak with leaders here in the United States who have something to teach us about history, women’s issues and diplomacy.