Honoring the 2018 International #WomenofCourage

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First Lady of the United States Melania Trump poses for a photo with the 2018 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awardees during a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on March 23, 2018.
First Lady of the United States Melania Trump poses for a photo with the 2018 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awardees during a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, on March 23, 2018.

Honoring the 2018 International #WomenofCourage

On March 23, the U.S. Department of State hosted the 2018 International Women of Courage Awards, honoring 10 extraordinary women from around the world. This prestigious award pays tribute to emerging women leaders from around the world who have championed human rights, women’s equality, and social progress.

Here are some highlights from the ceremony:

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert Hosts the Ceremony and Delivers Remarks

Spokesperson Nauert delivered remarks underscoring the importance of women’s empowerment and women’s voices to to global security, prosperity, and peace.

First Lady of the United States Melania Trump Delivers Special Remarks

In her remarks, the First Lady underscored the importance of highlighting the powerful and courageous stories of these women to inspire and empower other women and girls around the world to make changes in their communities.

Rwandan Award Recipient Godelieve Mukasarasi Discusses Advocacy Efforts

Godelieve Mukasarasi, who dedicated her life after the 1994 Rwandan Genocide to fighting for a culture of peace and non-violence in Rwanda, discussed her work to promote the rights of women and girls affected by sexual violence in conflict zones worldwide.

2018 International Women of Courage (IWOC) awardee Godelive Mukasarasi of Rwanda delivers remarks during a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on March 23, 2018.

Behind the Scenes Moments from the Ceremony

What's Next for These #WomenofCourage?

Following the ceremony the award recipients departed Washington on the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Under this program, the group will visit cities across the United States -- traveling individually to Austin, Cleveland, Dallas, Pensacola, Phoenix, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, or San Antonio -- to meet with Americans and make connections that will bolster their abilities to continue to empower women in their countries. The awardees will reconvene in Los Angeles at the conclusion of their IVLP. Follow @ECAatState and @StateIVLP on Twitter to keep up with their program.

Who Are Your #WomenofCourage?

In honor of Women’s History Month in March, and the U.S. Department of State’s annual International Women of Courage Award, we want to know: who is your woman of courage? She could be a piano teacher, a mentor, family member or friend who took a stand and inspires you to reach higher. Now through April 1st, share a photo of your woman of courage and let us know why you admire her (tag her if you can), including the hashtag #WomenofCourage. Submissions will be shared here on our website: WomenofCourage.state.gov

Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.