Meridian honored to host 2020 International Women of Courage Awardees

Photo by U.S. Department of State.

Now in its 14th year, the annual U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award honors extraordinary women worldwide 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. On Wednesday, March 4, during a ceremony organized by the Secretary’s Office of International Women’s Issues (S/GWI) and hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and First Lady Melania Trump, the 2020 IWOC Awardees were recognized for their remarkable accomplishments. 

Meridian International Center is proud to have partnered with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to design and implement an 18-day professional International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) itinerary for the Awardees. As part of the Washington program, Meridian helped orient the Awardees to American culture and the U.S. government system, facilitated a media training opportunity for the women, and arranged meetings with the offices of various Members of Congress. The women also spoke publicly about their work during a panel discussion at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. 

The Awardees will leave Washington to follow individualized itineraries arranged in coordination with Global Ties U.S. member organizations in Atlanta; Birmingham and Montgomery; Chicago; Colorado Springs; Des Moines and Iowa City; Detroit; Jackson; Minneapolis; New York City; San Diego; Tampa; and Tulsa. They will meet a diversity of Americans and enjoyed professional meetings and site visits designed around their areas of expertise. During this segment, the Awardees will also participate in home hospitality with local volunteers. 

To close the project, the group will reunite for two special events and a project evaluation in Los Angeles. The Perseverance Through Adversity Luncheon will be hosted by the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, while an evening dinner and reception will be hosted by the American Women for International Understanding. At both, Awardees will meet community members, tell their stories, and receive further recognition for their achievements. 

This year's 11 Awardees included: 

  • Lucy Kocharyan of Armenia 
  • Shahla Humbatova of Azerbaijan 
  • Ximena Galarza of Bolivia 
  • Claire Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso
  • Sayragul Sauytbay of Kazakhstan 
  • Susanna Liew of Malaysia 
  • Amaya Coppens of Nicaragua 
  • Jalilah Haider of Pakistan 
  • Amina Khoulani of Syria 
  • Yasmin al Qadhi of Yemen 
  • Beauty Rita Nyampinga of Zimbabwe 

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