2014 Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon
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What: Women’s Refugee Commission Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon
Presenters: Liv Ullmann, Meryl Streep
Honorees: Leymah Gbowee, Chernor Bah, Mary Tal
Introductions: Malala Yousafzai, Dr. Sima Samar
Since it was founded in 1989, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) has played a leading role in improving the lives and protecting the rights of women, children and youth displaced by war, persecution and natural disaster. Our recommendations and advocacy have led to significant changes in humanitarian policies and programs, most recently demonstrated with our vital work in Jordan and Lebanon with Syrian refugees on reproductive health, gender-based violence and inclusion of persons with disabilities.
This year at our Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon we will focus on our 25 years of positive impact by bringing back former refugee honorees from different parts of the world who have made significant impacts on their own communities since being recognized by the WRC. As always, we will award three courageous refugee honorees who will share their stories of perseverance, strength and hope.
Renowned actress Meryl Streep will perform a dramatic reading and talk about her commitment to women and girls’ empowerment worldwide.
WRC’s co-founder, actress and director Liv Ullmann will cover several notable individual stories of displaced women and children whose lives were transformed as a result of the WRC’s work.
Our first honoree is Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace and women's rights activist. Leymah won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her role in ending the 14-year second civil war in Liberia. She is the executive director of the Ghana-based Women Peace and Security Network Africa, and a Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice at Barnard College of Columbia University.
Our second honoree is Chernor Bah, who fled the conflict in Sierra Leone. He now works at the United Nations as an advocate for girls’ education under Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
Chernor will be introduced by Malala Yousafzai. At 15, Malala was shot by the Taliban for her activism around education for girls. She has been honored throughout the world for her bravery and unwavering dedication to her cause, including being named one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2013 by Time magazine.
Our third honoree is Mary Tal, a refugee from Cameroon. She is the founder and director of Whole World Women Association, a South Africa-based organization that works to empower refugee women and children from all over the African continent.
Dr. Sima Samar of Afghanistan, a WRC honoree in 2001, who is head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, will introduce one of the honorees.
This milestone event will be a particularly inspiring and celebratory gathering of some 500 women and men from around the world, including highly influential corporate executives, foundation and NGO leaders, UN officials, media executives, philanthropists, celebrities and young professionals. We will join together to recognize the resilience and courage of displaced women, children and youth and commemorate the WRC’s critical work driving lasting change on the ground.
To learn more about the Women’s Refugee Commission and our 25 Years Leading Change, please visit here.
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