First lady honors global women of courage

First lady Melania Trump paid tribute to a group of women from around the world for their bravery in fighting for human rights, women’s empowerment and transnational justice, often at great risk to themselves and their families.

“The women of courage we honor are heroes in the countries they call home and for the entire world,” the first lady said at a March 23 ceremony to honor 10 remarkable women with the secretary of state’s 2018 International Women of Courage Award.

“In recognizing them, we stand for what is right,” she said. “In telling their stories, we can teach young women and girls all over the world what it means to have courage and be a hero.”

The award, founded in 2007, recognizes women who have demonstrated extraordinary courage and leadership in improving their societies and the lives of others. They are chosen from nominations made by U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

“When women are empowered, communities are safer and countries are more stable.” ~  State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert

Each year, the honorees travel to several U.S. cities to speak and meet with Americans through a State Department exchange program of professionals called the International Visitor Leadership Program.

“We know women’s voices are critical to global security, prosperity and peace, which is why the State Department annually presents the International Women of Courage Awards,” said department spokesperson Heather Nauert, who hosted the ceremony.

“This year we have recognized 10 extraordinary women who fight day in and day out for what they believe,” she said.

Since the award’s inception, the State Department has honored more than 120 women from 65 countries.


2018 honorees represent 10 countries:

Mauritania, Thailand: Protecting human rights

Rwanda, Kosovo, Italy: Supporting victims in conflict zones

Iraq: Resisting sectarian and radical ideology

Afghanistan: Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights

Kazakhstan, Honduras: Ending violence against women

Guatemala: Promoting transnational justice