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International Women of Courage Awards in Los Angeles

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

March 18, 2019

By: Anna Bryan

On Monday, March 18, Global Hope 365 joined the Board of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA) in welcoming nine Women of Courage to the City of Angels. The U.S. Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage while advocating for peace and human rights from their respective countries.

The State Department hosted the women for a two-week program to celebrate their accomplishments as well as provide training for their return to their home countries to continue their humanitarian work. The ceremony in LA took place on March 18 in line with International Women’s Day on March 8 and Women’s History Month. The women have now traveled to Washington DC for an awards ceremony and this leg of the trip is the last before the women return home.

Rima Nashashibi, President and Founder, of Global Hope 365 provided the nine award recipients with a training session on activating their acquired wisdom and new momentum when they return to their home countries. Rima has long been a trainer and advocate for empowering women and has been training women on consensus building strategies in both the human rights arena as well as through political advocacy for more than a decade.

Some of the women have their own nonprofits to benefit women and children in their home countries. The women have diverse roles in their home countries from an activist, journalist, an environmental lawyer, humanitarian, prosecutor, and police chief. Most of the women have devoted their entire careers to human rights with a focus on women and children. The messages the women delivered were universal. Women grow and gain strength through friendship and community. Rima offered guidance on networking, fundraising, and time management. Rima also offered guidance on working with the media to increase visibility, get consensus, and have the media on their side. The women discussed strategies for creating the peaceful and empowered communities they want to live in. Rima said, “If your community is affected by violence, create activities that benefit your community to showcase the kind of interaction you would like to see among the community members. Focus on the desired outcome.” Rima added, “If you have not done so yet, conduct a need assessment in your community.” Rima offered sage advice for strong women who devote their lives to advancing their cause, “Care for your own wellbeing first, including meditation, excersice and enough sleep. If you do not take care of your self first, you will not be able to take care of your own community.”

The training session was followed by a celebratory awards luncheon on the 27th floor of City Hall. A panel discussion allowed the women to reflect on their travels in the United States and the wisdom gained from their time together. Colonel Khalida al-Twal from Jordan said “A courageous woman is one that faces challenges and needs to be heard.”

Please see below a list of the 2019 Women of Courage Award Recipients. Full bios are available on the State Department Website.

The 2019 Recipients are

  1. Razia Sultana was born in Maungdaw, Burma, in 1973 to ethnic Rohingya parents and has devoted her career to advancing human rights for her own community and for all in Burma.

  2. Naw K’nyaw Paw is a peace activist and General Secretary of the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO), an ethnic women’s organization of over 60,000 members, supporting gender equality and indigenous people’s rights in Burma.

  3. Moumina Houssein Darar of Djibouti, where she consistently serves as the lead investigator for high-profile investigations anti-terrorism investigations.

  4. Mama Maggie abandoned numerous opportunities provided by her elite upbringing and resisted restrictions against women’s leadership to establish Stephen’s Children (SC), a non-governmental organization that serves the most impoverished urban slums and rural villages in Egypt regardless of their color, creed, or faith

  5. Sister Orla Treacy of Ireland started a boarding school in Rumbek, South Sudan–an area besieged by civil war and violent inter-clan conflict, to protect girls who were being forced into early marriage and denied the right to an education.

  6. Colonel Khalida Khalaf Hanna al-Twal is the Chief of the Public Security Directorate’s (PSD) Women’s Police Department in Jordan.

  7. Olivera Lakic is a stalwart investigative reporter from Montenegro.

  8. Flor de Maria Vega Zapata is Peru’s National Coordinator for Environmental Prosecutors and leads a team of prosecutors to investigate and prosecute transnational criminal organizations engaged in the multi-billion dollar criminal enterprises of illegal mining and illegal logging.

  9. Marini de Livera is the Founder and Chairperson of Sisters at Law, where she serves as a pro bono lawyer for women and child victims of crime and promotes alternative care for children trapped in orphanages.

  10. Anna Henga is a Tanzanian lawyer, passionate human rights activist, and the Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC).

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