The International Women of Courage Award was presented to 13 women today, presided over by First Lady, Melania Trump, and State Department Official, Thomas Shannon.
The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award is awarded on a yearly basis since 2007 and recognizes women who have shown courage, leadership, and strength while advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s rights, often at their own personal risk.
Watch the First Lady’s Speech here:
The women being honored this year hail from 13 different countries and varying backgrounds:
Sharmin Akter, Activist Against Early/ Forced Marriage, Bangladesh
Malebogo Molefhe, Human Rights Activist, Botswana
Natalia Ponce de Leon, President, Natalia Ponce de Leon Foundation, Colombia
Rebecca Kabugho, Political and Social Activist, Democratic Republic of Congo
Jannat Al Ghezi, Deputy Director of The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
Major Aichatou Ousmane Issaka, Deputy Director of Social Work at the Military Hospital of Niamey, Niger
Veronica Simogun, Director and Founder, Family for Change Association, Papua New Guinea
Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, Lawyer and Founder of Not One Woman Less, Peru
Sandya Eknelygoda, Human Rights Activist, Sri Lanka
Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Member, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), Syria
Saadet Ozkan, Educator and Gender Activist, Turkey
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Blogger and Environmental Activist, Vietnam