Melania Trump Hosts International Women of Courage Award

The State Department International Women of Courage award inaugurated in 2007 by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which recognizes women 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.”

First Lady Melania Trump, joined by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, presented the International Women of Courage award to extraordinary 13 women from around the world hailing from countries like Botswana, Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen, and Peru, who are working to advance peace, security, and women’s rights in their home countries.

Photo credit: State Department

The 2017 awardees are:

  • Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, Lawyer and Founder of Not One Woman Less, Peru
  • Sandya Eknelygoda, Human Rights Activist, Sri Lanka
  • Fadia Najib Thabet, Human Rights Activist, Yemen
  • Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Member, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), Syria
  • Saadet Ozkan, Educator and Gender Activist, Turkey
  • Sharmin Akter, Activist Against Early/ Forced Marriage, Bangladesh
  • Malebogo Molefhe, Human Rights Activist, Botswana
  • Natalia Ponce de Leon, President, Natalia Ponce de Leon Foundation, Colombia
  • Veronica Simogun, Director and Founder, Family for Change Association, Papua New Guinea
  • Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Blogger and Environmental Activist, Vietnam
  • Rebecca Kabugho, Political and Social Activist, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Jannat Al Ghezi, Deputy Director of The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
  • Major Aichatou Ousmane Issaka, Deputy Director of Social Work at the Military Hospital of Niamey, Niger

“It will 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 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.”

Carletha Cole attends the State Department International Women of Courage annually, and for her the best times were with First Lady Michelle Obama, and Laura Bush, both are true advocates for women’s rights.