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.
.@statedeptspox: From day one, the @POTUS Trump administration has been committed to empowering women. Women’s empowerment is not only a basic fulfillment of #humanrights, but a strategic investment in our collective future. #WomenofCourage pic.twitter.com/uHrugmzcoz— Department of State (@StateDept) March 23, 2018
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.
.@FLOTUS: The #WomenofCourage we honor are heroes in the countries they call home and for the entire world. In recognizing them, we stand for what is right. In telling their stories, we can teach young women and girls all over the world what it means to have courage & be a hero. pic.twitter.com/3bDFHUuEzo— Department of State (@StateDept) March 23, 2018
.@FLOTUS: I am focused on helping children in every way that I can. The #WomenofCourage we are honoring today define what it means to be a role model. I cannot thank all of you enough for the path you are helping to pave for our next generation. pic.twitter.com/SeLmhJAVLm— Department of State (@StateDept) March 23, 2018
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.
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.