2017 International Women of Courage Award

First Lady Melania Trump and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon presented the 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award to a group of extraordinary women from around the world on March 29 at the State Department.

The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the State Department has honored over 100 women from more than 60 different countries.

The 2017 awardees are:

  • 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
  • Fadia Najib Thabet, Human Rights Activist, Yemen

Full biographies are available here.