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AWIU Honors the 2012 Women of Courage Award Winners

On Tuesday night, I was honored to photograph a celebration honoring the Secretary of State’s 2012 International Women of Courage Award Winners, hosted by American Women for International Understanding at the National Press Club.  These remarkable women have shown courage in the face of unimaginable obstacles, and it was humbling to be in their presence and to hear the stories of their perseverance, survival and bravery.  Thank you to AWIU for asking me to photograph this inspiring, important event, which recognized the accomplishments of not only the IWOC award winners, but also the Co-Chairs of The Afghan Women’s Task Force, Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Mary Ripley, the recipient of the Bernice Behrens Founder’s Award.

Secretary of State’s 2012 International Women of Courage Award Winners

  • The Honorable Maryam Durani, Kandahar Provincial Council Member (Afghanistan)
  • Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo, police officer, Rio de Janeiro Military Police (Brazil)
  • Zin Mar Aung, political activist and NGO co-founder (Burma)
  • Jineth Bedoya Lima, investigative journalist (Colombia)
  • Hana Elhebshi, architect and political activist (Libya)
  • Aneesa Ahmed, gender-based violence (GBV) activist and former Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs (Maldives)
  • Shad Begum, human rights activist and founder/executive director of Anjuman Behbood-e-Khawateen Talah (the Union of Women’s Welfare) (Pakistan)
  • Samar Badawi, political activist (Saudi Arabia)
  • Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih, human rights activist (Sudan)

AWIU members and their guests begin arriving at The National Press Club.  Top left: Laurie Wells, Patty Reynolds, Pauletta Walsh, Marty Forrest, Phyllis Burrs; right: Benita Schobe and Martha Atherton; bottom left: Annie Hunt, Colleen Berk, Robin Odem, Marsha Niazmand.

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The AWIU Orange County Chapter Chairwoman, Diane McGlinchey, addresses event attendees.

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Congressional Co-Chairs of the Afghan Women’s Task Force, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (5th District-Washington) and Congresswoman Donna Edwards (4th District-Maryland), speak after accepting the AWIU Internationalism Award.

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Rachel Worby and the Pasadena-based orchestra MUSE/IQUE.

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IWOC Award Winner Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo of Brazil, on the right, is recognized.

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Ambassador-at-Large of Global Women’s Issues, the Honorable Melanne Vermeer, presented the IWOC Award Winners.

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IWOC Award Winner Zin Mar Aung of Burma, a democracy activist, is recognized while Shad Begum, a womens’ rights activist in Pakistan, listens.

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IWOC Award Winner Aneesa Ahmed of Maldives is the Founder and Chairperson of Hope for Women NGO.

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IWOC Award Winner Jineth Bedoya Lima is an investigative journalist in Colombia.

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IWOC Award Winner Samar Badawi of Saudi Arabia, a human rights activist, is recognized while Jineth Bedoya Lima looks on.

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The IWOC Award Winners listen to a musical performance.  From the left:  Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih, a human rights activist from Sudan; Zin Mar Aung; Shad Begum; and Hana Elhebshi, a women’s empowerment leader from Libya.

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Soloist Laurie Wells performed “What You Take Away” with composer and pianist Tim Acito (not pictured).

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Hana Elhebshi, Aneesa Ahmed, and Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo listen to the performance.

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The last event of the evening was the presentation by Jane Wetzel of the Bernice Behrens Founder’s Award to Mary Ripley.  Mary Ripley has been an activist for global womens’ rights for 78 years.

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