International Women of Courage Celebration 2017: Compassion, Resilience and Bravery

 

At the 10th Annual International Women of Courage Celebration, Ms. Fadia Najib Thabet of Yemen, an activist working to reintegrate former child soldiers of Al Qaeda and Houthi militias into society, brought the crowd to their collective feet when she declared, “The women sitting in front of you have all fought. We have chosen to tell our stories with compassion, resilience and bravery. To all the women here, you are part of our journey and fight. Each of us has a mission to accomplish. We still have a lot to do. But this time I am not going to walk alone. We will walk side by side. Holding each other’s hands. We are feminists, we are powerful, we are intelligent and we are a movement.”

Her stirring speech was one of the highlights of this year’s International Women of Courage Celebration hosted by the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) held April 6, 2017 at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles to a sold-out crowd of 280. This year marked the second time the AWIU event was held in Southern California in collaboration with the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and the International Visitors Council Los Angeles. The standing ovation underscored the warm, supportive and electric atmosphere of the evening as AWIU honored 13 International Women of Courage (IWOCs), 10 in attendance, for their work against gender-based violence, government corruption and the effects of long-term war on women and children.

Fellow IWOC honoree, Ms. Rebecca Kabugho from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, recognized for her key role in a series of peaceful protests demanding that the Congolese government hold credible elections, reiterated Ms. Thabet’s sentiments. She spoke about the strong bond the 2017 IWOCs shared and how that sisterhood was an invaluable tool for moving forward in their work. Speaking about her hopes for the future of her country, Ms. Kabugho said, I hope that all the women who are here will fight to change their countries. We can change the Congo. We can change the world. Without us, it will not be done. Hand in hand, we will make the world a better place.”

 See the complete list of 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage here.

The International Women of Courage Award was established by the U.S. Department of State in 2007 to honor women who demonstrate exceptional courage in making a substantial difference in the lives of others around the globe. Honorees traveled to the United States for an award ceremony at the U.S.Department of State in Washington, D.C. in late March and then traveled individually to different states on an International Visitors Leadership Program. At the end of their visit to the United States, the IWOCs then reconvened in Los Angeles for a debriefing, a panel presentation and the AWIU IWOC Celebration.

On hand from the U.S. Department of State to introduce the International Women of Courage was Ms. Betty Bernstein-Zazba, Senior Advisor and Director of Operations in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. “Each woman’s story is an inspiring reminder of how individuals can make a difference. Taken together, they provide a powerful message of courage and leadership. Women can make a difference in promoting greater peace, economic growth, and progress.” Joining Ms. Bernstein-Zabza was her colleague from the U.S. Department of State, Ms. Stacy White, the Director of the Office of International Visitors in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Other highlights of the night included the presentation of AWIU’s Internationalism Award to Ms. Anita DeFrantz, the first American woman and the first African American to be named to the International Olympic Committee. Ms. DeFrantz was honored for her lifetime of work to increase opportunities for women around the globe through sports and for her advocacy against slavery. Ms. DeFrantz could not be at the event because she was travelling in support of the LA2024 Olympic Bid, but in a video she expressed her thanks to AWIU and her admiration for all the International Women of Courage, adding, “You lift me up.”

 

The Bernice Behrens Founders Award was given to Diane McGlinchey by AWIU president Carol Robertson Lopez. Diane McGlinchey has been a dedicated member of AWIU for over a decade, serving in almost every role including President. Her commitment to the work of AWIU flows from a lifetime spent in service to fellow women and to her country. She thanked fellow AWIU members for their service and their friendship, adding, “Let us move forward knowing that the collective power of women—well organized, passionate and respectful—is unstoppable.”

        Honorary Chairwoman Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments, also sent a video, addressing the IWOCs directly saying, “Your stories of grit, determination, perseverance and courage are reminders to all women that with a measure of bravery, you can change the world. And they are stories that need to be told.”

             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. In honor of AWIU’s 50th anniversary year, the grants for 2017 International Women of Courage were our largest ever, as a sign of the organization’s half-century commitment to of improving the lives of women all over the globe. Event Chair Maggie Sabbag thanked all the guests for their vital support, “We are deeply grateful to our sponsors and patrons. Because of their generosity, AWIU awards each woman a monetary grant to continue her good work and make a positive difference in our world. Many thanks for supporting the Celebration and all the good that flows from it.”

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 Nancy Annick, Martha A. Atherton, Susan Chandler, Carole Lewis, Onma Lwin, Cynthy Moffatt, Maggie Sabbag and Jane Mursener Wetzel for contributing at the Empowerment through Education level.

Deloitte was the presenting sponsor for the seventh consecutive year and provided volunteers to staff the event. Other sponsors included Ariel Investments; LA2024; Nestle; Wells Fargo; The Walt Disney Company; CBRE; UCLA Anderson School of Management; and US News & World Report.

 

   AWIU member and Mistress of Ceremonies Cynthy Moffatt said afterwards,From start to finish, the evening was charged with enthusiasm, passion and admiration for the International Women of Courage. The guests loved being able to interact with the honorees one-on-one and hear their stories and personal messages firsthand. The experience was eye-opening for so many of us and incredibly moving and inspiring. I think the sustained standing ovation all received at the conclusion of the program really touched the honorees.”

 Photos by Dana Bouton of dpb photography

 

 

About the American Women for International Understanding

American Women for International Understanding promotes woman-to-woman interaction and understanding worldwide through delegations, grants, educational programs and the International Women of Courage Celebration. For ore information, please click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 International Women of Courage Honored in DC, En Route to LA

On March 29th, 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.  “It was be my great honor to share a stage with these amazing women.  Each of the award recipients has overcome incredible odds in her pursuit to change the world and make it better,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “As women, we must continue to stand together with the steadfast goal of making our world safer through acts of collaborative and individual bravery.  As we all know, wherever women are diminished, the entire world is diminished with them.” Many of the women honored this year are advocates for victims of gender-based violence.

AWIU guest Karen Chevelier of US News & World Report and the IWOC from Sri Lanka

For a complete list of the International Women of Courage who will be honored at the AWIU 10th Annual International Women of Courage Celebration, please click here.  

For the full text of the IWOC Awards Ceremony and a video of the presentation including the First Lady’s remarks, please click here. You will be taken to the US Department of State website. 

AWIU President Carol Robertson Lopez (right) enjoying the reception at the State Departmen

AWIU’s Mary Schammel and Maggie Sabbag with Danial Martinez of the Department of State.

A contingent of American Women for International Understanding members and guests were at the State Department for the ceremony. Attending the event from AWIU: Jing Boa; Carolyn Johnson; Linda Kukler; Diane McGlinchey; Cynthy Moffatt; Gayle Graham Morin; Marsha Anderson- Niazmand; Barbara Rubio; Maggie Sabbag; Mary Schammel, Louise Simone Schoene; Maria Schory; Laura Schuldt and Ann Tonks. Invited guests included IWOC Celebration Honorary Committee members Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller and Karen Chevalier of US News & World Reports. Mary Schammel, an AWIU member and IWOC Celebration Liaison to the Department of State said, “It was a wonderful and inspiring day.”

 

 

 

AWIU looks forward to welcoming the the 2017 International Women of Courage to our tenth annual Celebration in Los Angeles on April 6th at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. The Honorary Chair is Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments and an advocate for women, the arts and education. We are pleased to announce that all the International Women of Courage will be introduced by Betty Bernstein-Zabza, Senior Advisor and Director Office of Global Women’s Issues, United States Department of State.  AWIU will also honor Anita DeFrantz, an Executive Board member of the International Olympic Committee and an advocate for gender equality and parity in global sports. Ms. DeFrantz is also being honored for her work to end slavery around the world.

For more information about the AWIU Grants Program, please click here and here

AWIU members at a dinner with Congressman Royce at the National Press Club

 

 

 

 

AWIU Announces Anita DeFrantz as Internationalism Award Honoree

The American Women for International Understanding is honored to announce that the 2017 Internationalism Award recipient is Anita DeFrantz, an Olympian and member of the International Olympic Committee who is an advocate for equality and opportunity for women through sports, both in the United States and across the globe. 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 6, 2017. 

Anita-DeFrantzMs. DeFrantz is a member of the International Olympic Committee and the IOC Executive Board. She serves on the Juridical Commission of the IOC, which is made up of lawyers, and on the Finance Commission, which reviews the investments and spending plans.

Before she joined the ranks of the IOC, DeFrantz captained the U.S. women’s rowing team and rowed in the eight that won a bronze medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. DeFrantz served as Vice President of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and was elected to IOC membership in 1986, making her not only the first African-American but also the first American woman to serve on the committee.

In 1987, DeFrantz began her 28-year role stewarding the legacy of 1984 LA Games as president of the LA84 Foundation, which received 40% of the 1984 proceeds. Over the past 30 years, the LA84 Foundation has invested more than $225 million to support more than 2,000 youth sports organizations, and it continues to provide Los Angeles youth with recreation and sports opportunities.

Podium #2In 1992, she was elected a member of the IOC Executive Board. In 1997, she became the organization’s first female vice president, a position she held until 2001. From 1989-1994 she served on the IOC’s Summer Program Commission, which determines which sports will be included in Olympic competition. In 1995, she became chair of the IOC’s Women and Sports Commission. She is credited with getting women’s softball and soccer added to the Olympic ticket.

Currently, she is president of the Tubman Truth Corp., an organization working to provide liberty and justice for all people trapped in slavery and human trafficking.  She also serves on LA 2024, the Los Angeles bid committee for the 2024Ssummer Olympic Games, as the LA 2024 Senior Adviser for Legacy.

DeFrantz received her B.A. from Connecticut College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for her contributions to international sports, gender equity and creating a level playing field for athletes at home and globally.

For more information about the International Woman of Courage Celebration, please click here

 

AWIU Announces Mellody Hobson as Honorary Chair for IWOC Celebration

American Women for International Understanding is pleased to announce that our Honorary Chair for the International Women of Courage Celebration is Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments and respected advocate for financial literacy and investor education. The International Women of Courage Celebration, an evening honoring female leaders and change-makers from around the globe, will be held on April 6, 2017 in Los Angeles at the Jonathan Club.

Mellody HobsonMellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm offers six no-load mutual funds for individual investors and defined contribution plans as well as separately managed accounts for institutions and high net worth individuals. As president, Ms. Hobson is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning, overseeing all operations outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust.

Beyond her work at Ariel, Mellody Hobson has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets and economic trends for CBS News. She also contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and pens a regular column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, she is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt Study: 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities.

Ms. Hobson is a director of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and Starbucks Corporation. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school time programs. She is a board member of The Chicago Public Education Fund, George Lucas Education Foundation, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and Sundance Institute, where she has been appointed emeritus trustee. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors. In 2015, Ms. Hobson was named to Time Magazine annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Ms. Hobson earned her AB from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College and the University of Southern California.

For more  sponsor and patron information about the International Women of Courage Celebration, please click here

 

AWIU Awards Grants to Six Additional Organizations

On August 31st, the American Women for International Understanding grant committee met to review the six applications which were received between July 1 and August 30th. We were intrigued by the creative and innovative methods which women around the world are using to improve their lives.

Mitooma Women’s Dignity Foundation in UgandaMitooma Women’s Dignity Foundation in Uganda serves women in the Mitooma district of Uganda. This area is very isolated, and challenged by adverse weather (droughts and flooding), limited employment opportunities, and limited access to education. Women are especially impacted as they are completely dependent upon men for all basic needs, and often subject to child marriage. The organization proposed a two year program to train women in piggery rearing so that they may become economically independent. AWIU helped provide $2000 for the purchase of piglets and for the women’s training. For more details, please click here. 

Women Development Welfare Society in India works with the Dalit (or untouchable) population, among the most oppressed group in India. WDWS promotes education as a tool for empowerment for young girls, but among the many obstacles the girls face is the lack of schools within miles of their homes. To enable girls to attend school in areas where there is no public transportation they requested funds from AWIU with which to obtain bicycles. They were given a grant of $2000.

Humane Voluntary Welfare Association, also in India, requested and received from AWIU $1770 with which to purchase sewing machines for a tailoring project which will enable the women to develop an income. This amount will be used to purchase ten sewing machines, training materials, and an instructor’s salary for an eight-month course.

Melel Xojobal in Chiapas,Mexico

During the past year one of our delegations visited Melel Xojobal in Chiapas, Mexico. This is one of the poorest regions in Mexico yet the delegation was impressed by the energy and imagination with which Melel was providing education and support for the women and children of the area. Many are born at home and find it all but impossible to obtain a birth certificate, without which they are unable to achieve the most basic rights. Legally they don’t exist as are therefore unable to register for school or meet basic health needs. AWIU provided Melel with $2000 for a three month program during which the organization will provide information and support for the families of forty girls, ages from birth to seventeen, so that they may obtain birth certificates. For more information, please click here. img_7175-e1473641636763-608x912_c

AWIU has already given two grants to PDI-Kenya in order to train 10-16 year old girls in personal hygiene and to provide them with sanitary supplies. Without the latter a girl often misses a week of school each month. We have also helped the girls with school tuition. In August we heard the director, Sarah Kisaka, further describe the program and the impact it has had on these girls who live in a poor slum of Nairobi. We have now provided an extra $1000 to continue their participation in school.

It has been gratifying to know that providing girls and women around the world with what are often humble and quotidian articles to us, can change their lives and help them to have more fulfilling futures. AWIU is filling a niche in that our grants are accessible to small, grassroots women’s groups in often obscure areas of the world, who would not be considered for a grant by large donors such as the Gates and Ford Foundations but who are comfortable in approaching our group. At this point in 2016 we have provided grants to sixteen grants to women’s groups who might otherwise not have obtained funds with which to further their cause.

For more information on the American Women for International Understanding Grant Program, please click here.

IWOC Celebration 2016: An Electric Evening for the “Sisters of Courage”

IWOC 2016

The 2016 International Women of Courage at the AWIU IWOC Celebration.  From left to right: Mauritania; Sudan; Guatemala; France; Slovakia; Tanzania; Thailand; Iraq; Yemen; Belize.  For complete bios, see link below.

 

“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.

Vicky Ntetema of Tanzania speaks to the capacity crowd of 300

Vicky Ntetema of Tanzania speaks to the capacity crowd of 300

AWIU member and LA chapter Chair Diane Henry stands to applaud the IWOCs

AWIU member and LA Chapter Chair Diane Henry stands to applaud the IWOCs

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 heath support. See their complete bios here.

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.

AWIU President Carol Robertson Lopez presented the Bernice Behrens Founders Award to past President Carole Lewis

AWIU President Carol Robertson Lopez presented the Bernice Behrens Founders Award to past President Carole Lewis

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.”

Event Chair Sarah Shelton thanking guests and sponsors fro their support of AWIU and the IWOC grants

Event Chair Sarah Shelton thanking guests and sponsors for their support of AWIU and the IWOC grants

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.”

Emcee Leslie Scwheitzer presents the AWIU Internationalism Award to Harriet Fulbright for her work in arts and international education

Emcee Leslie Scwheitzer presents the AWIU Internationalism Award to Harriet Fulbright for her work in arts and international education

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. ”

AWiu Member Madvi raya and guest celebrate with the IWOCs from Malaysia, Slovakia, Thailand and Belize

AWIW Member Madvi Raya and her guest celebrate with the IWOCs from Malaysia, Slovakia, Mauretania and Belize

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.

Thanks to the Deloitte volunteers that staffed the event from check-in to IWOC escorts

Thanks to the Deloitte volunteers that staffed the event from check-in to IWOC escorts

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.

About the American Women for International Understanding

American Women for International Understanding promotes woman-to-woman interaction and understanding worldwide through delegations, grants, educational programs and the International Women of Courage Celebration.

Photo Gallery

Special Thanks to our photographer Dana Bouton of DPB Photography. 

To access the photographer’s photo gallery for Purchase and Reprint, please click here. 

To access the AWIU Flickr page for IWOC Celebration 2016, please click here. 

 

AWIU Cover2

International Women of Courage Celebration in Los Angeles for First Time

Female Leaders from around the Globe Recognized in Southern California

AWIU Cover2On April 7, 2016, American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) will host the International Women of Courage Celebration in Los Angeles in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and the International Visitors Council Los Angeles.

The International Women of Courage (IWOC) 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 travel to the U.S. for an award ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC on March 29th, 2016 and then travel as a group to different states on an International Visitors Leadership Program. The honorees will end their stay in the United States in Los Angeles for the International Women of Courage Celebration. Catherine Russell, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the Secretary of Sate’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, will be on hand to introduce each of the honorees. AWIU provides each honoree with a grant to continue their vital work in their home country.

Sara Shelton

Sarah Shelton IWOC Celebration Chair

“AWIU is excited to be able to host these inspiring female leaders in Southern California for the first time,” says International Women of Courage Celebration chair Sarah Shelton. “We’ve had tremendous support from the business community, the major academic institutions and all those interested in women’s global issues and citizen diplomacy. It will be a memorable night.”

For a complete list of the 2016 International Women of Courage, please click here.

For Highlights of the 2015 International Women of Courage Celebration, click here.

The International Women of Courage Celebration will take place on April 7, 2016 at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. Event sponsors include: Deloitte; 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.

About the American Women for International Understanding

American Women for International Understanding promotes woman-to-woman interaction and understanding worldwide through delegations, grants, educational programs and the International Women of Courage Celebration.

For more information about the IWOC Celebration, contact media chair Lian Dolan and liandolan47@gmail.com or iwoccelebration.org . For inquiries on the ceremony in DC or on the International Visitor Leadership Program, contact ECA-Press@state.gov

2016 AWIU Internationalism Award Recipient is Harriet M. Fulbright

 

2016 Internationalism Award Honoree Harriet M. Fulbright

2016 Internationalism Award Honoree Harriet M. Fulbright

 

“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.  

Harriet FulbrightMrs. 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.

For more information on the International Women of Courage Celebration, please click here. 

For more information on the American Women for International Understanding, please click here. 

Previous Internationalism Award Honorees 

 

2015 Laurie Garrett

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Journalist, Best-Selling Author, and Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Affairs

2014 Melanne Verveer

First U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and Founding Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and  Security

2013 Marie Thérèse Royce

Security Senior Director International Public Affairs, Alcatel-Lucent

2012 Cathy McMorris Rodgers 

U.S. Congresswoman, 5th District, Washington

2012 Donna F. Edwards

U.S. Congresswoman, 4th District, Washington

2011 The Honorable Bonnie McElveen-Hunter

Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and Founder and CEO of
Pace Communications

2010 Laura W. Bush

Former First Lady of the United States

2009 Doris Buffett

Founder and President, Sunshine Lady Foundation

Lesley Stahl to be Honorary Chair of IWOC Celebration 2016

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60 MINUTES, CBS News Correspondent Lesley Stahl

The American Women for International Understanding is pleased to announce that journalist Leslie Stahl will be the Honorary Chair of the 2016 International Women of Courage Celebration. The IWOC Celebration will be held in Los Angeles on April 7, 2016.

Ms. Stahl is joined on the 2016 IWOC Celebration Honorary Committee by female leaders in diplomacy, business, academics, and global issues. Please click here for the complete list of the 2016 IWOC Honorary Committee

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.

 

International Visitors Council Los Angeles welcomes AWIU & May Sabe Phyu, a 2015 International Woman of Courage from Burma

IWOC from Burma at Los Angeles AWIU event

From Left to Right: Janet Elliott, IVCLA Executive Director; Dr Wendy McCredie, Mount Saint Mary’s University VP; May Sabe Phyu, IWOC 2015; Diane Henry AWIU Los Angeles Chapter President; Karen Clark, City National Bank Sr VP (reception sponsor)

2015 IWOC Honoree

Following the International Women of Courage Awards, May Sabe Phyu, a 2015 Honoree from Burma, traveled to Los Angeles and was honored at a reception hosted  by the International Visitors Center Los Angeles. The American Women for International Understanding,  Mount Saint Mary’s University, and  the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center were honored to be partners. Janet Elliot of the International Visitors Center Los Angeles welcomed all to the event.

Ms. Phyu was selected an as International Woman of Courage 2015 by the US Department of State for her work in Burma advocating the rights of women and ethnic and religious minorities.

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 Department of State has honored 86 women from more than 50 countries.

As director of the Gender Equality Network, a coalition of more than 90 organizations collaborating to ad- vocate for women’s rights, May Sabe Phyu is leading efforts to end discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities in Burma. She co-founded the Kachin Peace Network and Kachin Women Peace Network to prioritize the needs of ethnic minority women in Kachin State, who are disproportionately affected by the longstanding civil conflict between the government and ethnic armed groups in northern Burma.

Ms Phyu’s efforts to address gender-based violence and promote women’s involvement in the peace process have led to numerous legal charges, as well as harassment and threats from anonymous networks. Yet, May Sabe Phyu’s determination in the face of adversity, political opposition, widely held rigid views about women’s roles, and personal risk has inspired collective action to push for government policy changes and realize women’s rights in Burma.

At the reception, Ms. Phyu was welcomed by Dr. Wendy McCredie, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mount Saint Mary’s University. She received a proclamation from State Senator Ben Allen. Lourdes Saab, Deputy Chief of Protocol for the County of Los Angeles  presented a gift to visitor. Former Congresswoman Diane Watson was also on hand.

American Women for International Understanding

AWIU members Joanne Kumamoto and Sara Hatanaka with IWOC Honoree Mae Sabe Phyu

Cynthy and Inez

IWOC Celebration Chairperson Cynthy Moffatt and Committee Member Inez Sharp with Honoree Mae Sabe Phyu

Cynthy Moffatt, Chairperson of the International Women of Courage Celebration for AWIU spoke about the Celebration, showed our finale video, and introduced the honoree. Ms. Phyu received her IWOC grant that evening as well. A number of members of AWIU were at the reception to hear a remarks from Ms. Phyu.

 

Many thanks to our sponsors Deloitte and City National Bank for supporting the work of the American Women for International Understanding. Thanks too to Mount Saint Mary’s University for providing the venue. Many thanks to the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles for putting together such a wonderful event on short notice.

 

 

 

For more information about the American Women for International Understanding, click here.

For more information on the International Women of Courage Celebration, click here.

For more information about supporting the work of AWIU to provide grants for the IWOCs, click here. 

For more information about the International Visitors Council Los Angeles, click here.