“I call on you, my Sisters of Courage, to find five girls to mentor and through these girls, we will build a better world,” Vicky Ntetema, an International Women of Courage honoree from Tanzania, challenged her fellow honorees and the audience of 300 at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles on April 7th. Her stirring speech was one of the highlights of the American Women for International Understanding’s 9th Annual International Women of Courage Celebration. The inspired crowd rose to its feet after Ms. Ntetema, a journalist- turned- human rights advocate, concluded. The standing ovation underscored the warm, supportive and electric atmosphere of the evening.

This year marked the 9th annual Celebration for American Women for International Understanding and the first time the event was held in Southern California in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and the International Visitors Council Los Angeles. The International Women of Courage 2016 represented 14 countries with 11 IWOCs in attendance for the Celebration. The women were honored for their advocacy and activism in a broad range of fields supporting women’s issues around the globe, from human rights advocacy to interfaith activism to mental health support.

The International Women of Courage Award was established by the U.S. Department of State in 2007 to honor women who are making a substantial difference in the lives of other women around the globe. Honorees traveled to the U.S. for an award ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC in late March and then traveled as a group to different states on an International Visitors Leadership Program. The IWOCs ended their stay in the United States in Los Angeles. Catherine Russell, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues was on hand to introduce each of the women at the Celebration and Deputy Assistant Secretary Karen Richardsonl spoke about the importance of working on women’s empowerment issues in terms of overall global stability.

Other highlights of the night included the presentation of the Bernice Behrens Founders Award to former AWIU president Carole Lewis by current president Carol Robertson Lopez. Harriet Fulbright was honored with the Internationalism Award for her commitment to education and the arts. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who created the International Women of Courage awards in 2007, sent a video message to the IWOCs, congratulating the women on their bravery and courage and encouraged them to keep in touch with one another after they returned home and to find other women to mentor. Honorary Chair Lesley Stahl of CBS News, who also sent a video for the event, called the IWOCS “fearless and dauntless” and commented, “It’s important that these women know that we are listening.”

As part of AWIU’s mission to build bridges of international understand and support women’s causes, the organization provided each honoree with a grant. Certificates were awarded on the night of the Celebration. Event Chair Sarah Shelton thanked the guests and sponsors from the stage for their vital support, “It is the privilege of AWIU to award every International Woman of Courage with a monetary grant so that she can return back to her native country and continue her important work. We believe the difference we make by providing grants to these extraordinary women allows them to make differences that change lives and change the world.”

Leslie Schweitzer, an AWIU member and Chairman and President of the Friends of the American University in Afghanistan, emceed the event and said afterwards, “AWIU truly does make a difference in addressing women’s issues worldwide. I am so honored to be part of it year after year. Traditionally the Celebration has been held in DC and holding it in LA this year was a wonderful change. There was so much energy in the room and the support for the incredible awardees was extraordinary.”

The event was made possible through the support of sponsors committed to global issues, including a number of AWIU members. A special thanks to Madvi Raya for committing at the Freedom & Equality Level and members Carole Lewis, Cynthy Moffatt, Margaret Heflin Sabbag and Jane Mursener Wetzel for contributing at the Empowerment through Education level.

Deloitte who was the presenting sponsor for the sixth consecutive year and provided volunteers to staff the event. Other sponsors included Nestle; The Walt Disney Company; CBRE; Davidoff Hutcher & Citron; Georgetown University; Friends of the American University in Afghanistan; National Geographic; Providence Foundations; Satellite Sisters; UCLA Anderson School of Management; USC Marshall School of Business; US News & World Report and Wells Fargo.

“I believe that global education is one of the most powerful tools to improve nations by reducing poverty, sustaining economic growth, and helping build a more peaceful world. Relations between countries are simply too important to be left in the hands of governments alone. Therefore, with our education programs we strive to nurture minds and expose people to different culture, thus increasing understanding, tolerance, and cooperation between people around the world.”
Harriet M. Fulbright

The American Women for International Understanding is honored to announce that the 2016 Internationalism Award recipient is Mrs. Harriet. M. Fulbright. The AWIU Internationalism Award is presented to individuals who have addressed concerns and issues facing women worldwide. The commitment and work of the individuals have set them apart by every standard. Recipients have exhibited international support for women’s issues and contributed to worldwide understanding, raised awareness of global concerns, and fostered and encouraged cross-cultural dialogue. AWIU will present the Internationalism Award at the International Women of Courage Celebration in Los Angeles on April 7, 2016.

Mrs. Harriet Mayor Fulbright is president of the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center, a non-profit organization which serves to advance the work of Mrs. Fulbright’s late husband, Senator J. William Fulbright, and to continue her own lifework.
She served as an unofficial ambassador for the 50th anniversary of the Fulbright Program and in that capacity traveled to numerous countries on all five major continents and throughout the United States to speak about the importance of international educational exchange and the pivotal role played by the Fulbright Program.

For the majority of her adult life, Mrs. Fulbright has worked in the areas of education and the arts. For three years, she served as the Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She was the first Assistant Director of the Congressional Arts Caucus and was later appointed Executive Secretary of the International Congress of Art Historians at the National Gallery’s Center for the Advanced Study in the Arts. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Fulbright Association and as President of the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum, an organization which advocated education reform and conducted teacher training seminars.

In the United States, she has taught art at several institutions, including the Maret School and American University. She has also taught in Korea and Russia.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Radcliffe College and a Master of Fine Arts from the George Washington University. She also holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges throughout the United States.

She has been awarded with many honors including the El Orden de Manuel Amador Guerrero from Panama, The Middle Cross of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Hungary, and the Order of Australia.

One of America’s most recognized and experienced broadcast journalists, Lesley Stahl’s career has been marked by political scoops, surprising features and award-winning foreign reporting. She has been a 60 MINUTES correspondent since March 1991; the 2015-‘16 season marks her 25th on the broadcast.

Stahl’s 2013 series on Guantanamo Bay in which she gained unprecedented access to its prison facilities was honored by the RTDNA with an Edward R. Murrow award. In another eye-opening story, she reported from inside America’s nuclear missile control centers and spoke to the Air Force officers who described working in them with surprisingly old equipment.

Her uplifting feature, “Gospel for Teens,” was recognized with two Emmy Awards in 2012.

That same year, her whistleblower interview with F-22 Raptor pilots provided the first public personal accounts of the fighter’s oxygen system troubles, spurring the Secretary of Defense to take action. Stahl’s interview of a former CIA Clandestine Services chief about the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Al Qaeda operatives sparked a national debate.

Stahl’s two reports from the Middle East in the fall of 2010, “Unfinished Business,” about Iraq, and “City of David,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, were honored by the Overseas Press Club for Best Interpretation on International Affairs. Her reporting on the life of a young, musical savant won her an Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting for her 2008 follow-up on Rex Lewis-Clack. Her interviews with the families of the Duke Lacrosse players exonerated in a racial rape case and with Nancy Pelosi before she became the first woman to become speaker of the house were big scoops for 60 MINUTES and CBS News in 2007. Her other exclusive 60 MINUTES interviews with former Bush administration officials Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke ranked among the biggest news stories of 2004. In a December 2002 interview with Al Gore, Stahl was the first to report that he would not run for president.

Prior to joining 60 MINUTES, Stahl served as CBS News White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan presidencies and part of the term of George H. W. Bush. Her reports appeared frequently on the CBS EVENING NEWS, first with Walter Cronkite, then with Dan Rather, and on other CBS News broadcasts.

During much of that time, she also served as moderator of FACE THE NATION, CBS News’ Sunday public-affairs broadcast (September 1983–May 1991). For FACE THE NATION, she interviewed such newsmakers as Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin, Yasir Arafat and virtually every top U.S. official, including George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.

She was co-host with Charles Kuralt of “America Tonight,” a daily CBS News late-night broadcast of interviews and essays (Oct. ’90-March ’91).

Her experiences covering Washington for more than 20 years became the subject of her book Reporting Live (Simon & Schuster, 1999). The stories she has covered since joining CBS News in the Washington bureau in 1972 range from Watergate through the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan to the 1991 Gulf War. She has reported on U.S.-Russian summit meetings and the economic summits of the industrialized countries, and the national political conventions and election nights throughout her career.

Stahl anchored several CBS News documentaries, including “The Politics of Cancer” and “In the Red Blues,” about the budget deficit, both for “CBS Reports.”

Other Emmy winners include a Lifetime Achievement Emmy received in September 2003 and her first Emmy, won for reporting on a bombing in Beirut for the CBS EVENING NEWS in 1983. Her FACE THE NATION interview with Sen. John Tower won Stahl her second statuette. Her 60 MINUTES reports “How He Won the War,” about former FDA Commissioner David Kessler’s battle with the tobacco industry, and “Punishing Saddam,” which exposed the plight of Iraqi citizens, mostly children, suffering the effects of the United Nations sanctions against Iraq, were both Emmy winners. “Punishing Saddam” also won Stahl electronic journalism’s highest honor, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Silver Baton. Her profile of search engine giant Google earned her a 2005 Business and Financial Emmy award, and her timely 2006 interview of ex-Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman Patricia Dunn won an Emmy for coverage of a breaking news story.

In 1996, Stahl was awarded the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, given by Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Conn., in recognition of her journalistic achievements. She was also honored that year by the Radio/Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) with an Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television for her 60 MINUTES report on the Michigan Militia. In 1990, she was honored with the Dennis Kauff Journalism Award for lifetime achievement in the news profession.

Stahl was born Dec. 16, 1941, in Swampscott, Mass., and was graduated cum laude in 1963 from Wheaton College, where she served on the board of trustees. She currently serves on the board of the New York City Ballet. She and her husband, author Aaron Latham, live in New York. They have a daughter, Taylor.