American Women for International Understanding Fact Sheet


  • Founded to promote worldwide woman-to-woman interaction and understanding
  • Over 50 years of citizen diplomacy through delegations, grants, awards, local chapter outreach and educational programs
  • Collaborates with the U.S. State Department to host the annual International Women of Courage Celebration
  • National membership with chapters in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York State, Northern California, Orange County, and Washington D.C.


  • Delegations sponsored for travel to over 65 countries to date
  • First group of American women to visit China after 1973 détente, to visit Russia in 1976, and to visit Libya in 40 years in 2009. Recent delegations traveled to Myanmar (Burma) in 2014, Chiapas, Mexico, in 2015, Ethiopia in 2016, Nicaragua in 2017, Morocco in January 2019 and Guatemala in 2022.
  • Delegations meet with leaders in government, business, and charitable organizations and visit embassies, institutions, historical sites and private homes. Information-sharing to all AWIU members upon return via presentations and digital communication.

Grant Program

  • Awards grants to nonprofit organizations focused on training and empowering women and girls in the areas of leadership, technology, health care and journalism. Recent grant focus on women-owned businesses in developing countries.
  • Past grantees include NGOs that support women photojournalists from developing countries, victims of human trafficking in Uganda, jurists from Muslim countries, teachers in Kenya, technology workers in Afghanistan. Recent business-focused grants include support for jewelry-making project in Peru and sewing and tailoring co-op in Uganda. Recent health-focused grants include cervical cancer screening in Nicaragua and clean water cistern at a girls’ school in the Ivory Coast.
  • Annual grants also awarded to the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage.

International Women of Courage Celebration

  • Beginning in 2008, AWIU has been uniquely honored to host the International Women of Courage Celebration in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State. AWIU has welcomed over 150 International Women of Courage to our Celebration, typically held each spring in Los Angeles and has awarded over $400,000 in grants to support the work of these extraordinary women.
  • Over the last 15 years, our Honorary Chair and our Honorary Committee have included American women at the highest levels of journalism, business, academia, diplomacy, sports, finance and advocate who support the mission of AWIU and the work of International Women of Courage.
  • In 2022, the US Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues honored AWIU with the Gender Champion Award for our continued support of the International Women of Courage program and our overall mission to support women and girls around the world.