My name is Ambiga Sreenevasan and I am a recipient of the International Women of Courage award in 2009 for my work in promoting the rule of law and human rights in Malaysia. Winning the award is an honor that brings with it the responsibility of continuing the fight against injustice. Meeting the other awardees who are ordinary women who have achieved extraordinary things in their country was awe inspiring and humbling and made me realize that the battle against injustice can never stop. Women have shown and continue to show leadership – not just in issues that affect them, but also in issues that affect society as a whole. We seek more mechanisms and systems that will help and promote the work of civil society around the world who struggle to uphold the role of law in their countries. The International Women of Courage Awards is one such platform.
My name is Jestina Mukoko from Zimbabwe. I am the National Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project and I won the award following up on the experience that I went through when I was abducted by the state, tortured, and not protected by the law. The moment that I shared with the Secretary in 2010 is a moment that I will never forget. Winning the International Women of Courage Award was a humbling experience personally. But I think it also helped profile my organization. Somehow Zimbabwe Peace Project is no longer a national name, but an internationally recognized organization because we were put on the world map by that award that I won in 2010.
Marisela Morales Ibañez
My name is Marisela Morales Ibañez. I am currently the Attorney General of Mexico. I received the International Women of Courage award on March 8, 2011, when I was the Deputy Attorney General for Special Investigations against Organized Crime. I would like to express my utmost gratitude, because I have really felt that she has given me the needed support to perform in this task. Without a doubt she and her government have been fundamental in the job that I have to undertake in this office, first as a Deputy Attorney General for Investigations on Organized Crime, and now as Attorney General. This award also recognizes all Mexican women, because Mexican women are brave, committed and always give the best of ourselves.
My name is Soraya Pakzad from Afghanistan and I received the Women of Courage Award in 2008. No doubt that the recognition at the international level has highly boosted my resolve and determination to carry on despite all challenges and hurdles. And I feel more energetic and enthusiastic after receiving such a high status award in one of the most prestigious forum in the world. And it’s given me a message that me and the women of my country are not alone in our struggle for our rights, justice, freedom and equality. But there are some very good friends out there whom we can share our success with.
My name is Agnes Osztolykan. I’m an MP now in the Hungarian Parliament. It was a great opportunity for me to be part of this distinguished group. And for me it was very, very good because several times my feeling is that I am not enough strong to do this hard work being only Roma women in this parliament. Because of this award my self confidence started to be stronger and stronger.
My name is Ghulam Sughra, and I am a Pakistani living in Pakistan. In 2011, I received an award from Secretary Clinton in the USA. It was a Woman of Courage Award. It was given to me in recognition of my work. In Pakistan, my organization called the Marvi Rural Development Organization, works for women’s empowerment and children’s education. When I was receiving the award, I was thinking that this is such a big award, but my work is so small and that I did not have the capacity to receive such a prestigious award. Seeing myself there, I was realized I should do more for the women of Pakistan because this award was not just an award. It was a challenge to do better work in the future. This was a big challenge for me. This award has not only helped me gain people’s respect. It has also assisted in removing the obstacles that I faced earlier. This award has been very lucky for me. I consider myself lucky to have received the Women of Courage Award and to have received it from such a renowned personality.
I am Lee Ae-Ran who received the International Woman of Courage Award from honorable Secretary Clinton and Mrs. Michelle Obama in 2010. Fifteen years ago I was an ordinary mother of a four month old son and I escaped from North Korea crossing Ap-Rok river with my son. The International Women of Courage Award that U.S. State Department has presented me let me become a person who could have higher social degree and work harder to help people who have escaped from North Korea to stand on their own feet. I will work harder for North Korean human rights problem resolution.