last week the american women for international understanding (AWIU) celebrated it’s 40th anniversary and hosted “conversations with women of courage” at the national press club. the state department’s international women of courage awards were presented by secretary condoleezza rice the previous day, and were part of a week-long celebration to honor the award winners. that the eight recipients hailed from around the globe, each with an amazing story of valiant efforts to to promote peace and understanding against incredible odds.
it was an inspiring evening, and a true honor to be amongst such strong, resilient women fighting for justice in their own communities all over the world. from the refugee camps of somalia to the tribal areas of pakistan to the mafia-controlled regions of paraguay – these women put themselves at risk on a daily basis to bring safety, justice and hope to women who otherwise are in great risk. although i was a guest i did bring my camera, and managed to get a few shots of these outstanding women. it’s impossible to capture all that they are in a photograph, but i feel that their beauty and spirit is truly reflected in these images.
the 2008 women of courage discussed issues relating to their causes and answered questions from the audience.
farhiyo farah ibrahim explains her work on behalf of female refugees in the dadaab refugee camp in somalia.
nibal thawabteh, the first woman to be elected to the beit fajjar village council in bethlehem, runs a monthly newspaper which she founded to cover the controversial issues that face women in the arab world.
dr, begum jan is chairperson of the tribal women welfare association, where she works to empower the voice and role of women in the traditional tribal regions of northwest pakistan.
karin mckenna + dr. begum jan.
virisila buadromo (fiji) + farhiyo farah ibrahim (somalia).
nibal thawabteh (palestinian authority) + terissa schor.
amazing historical photographs + portraits line the halls of the press club.