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2018 International Women of Courage Awardees

2018 International Women of Courage Award

In its 12th year, the 2018 IWOC Awards recognized women around the globe who had demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.

More About IWOC

On March 23, 2018, Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs & Department Spokesperson Nauert hosted the annual IWOC Awards at the State Department to honor ten extraordinary women from around the world. First Lady Melania Trump delivered special remarks at the ceremony.

Since the inception of this award in 2007, the State Department has recognized more than 120 women from more than 65 different countries. U.S. diplomatic missions overseas nominate one woman of courage from their respective host countries. The finalists are selected and approved by senior Department officials.

The bios of the 2018 awardees are located here and names listed below:

  • Roya Sadat of Afghanistan
  • Aura Elena Farfan of Guatemala
  • Dr. Julissa Villanueva of Honduras
  • Aliyah Khalaf Saleh of Iraq
  • Sister Maria Elena Berini of Italy (nominated by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See)
  • Aiman Umarova of Kazakhstan
  • Dr. Feride Rushiti of Kosovo
  • L’Malouma Said of Mauritania
  • Godelive Mukasarasi of Rwanda
  • Sirikan Charoensiri of Thailand


Following the official award ceremony and meetings in Washington, D.C., the IWOC honorees traveled individually to Austin, Cleveland, Dallas, Pensacola, Phoenix, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, or San Antonio on the International Visitor Leadership Program. American organizations and businesses hosted the IWOC awardees and collaborated with them on strategies and ideas to empower women both in the United States and abroad. The awardees reconvened in Los Angeles for a closing ceremony before returning to their home countries.

Spokesperson Nauert: "We know that women’s voices are critical to global security, prosperity, and peace, which is why the Department of State annually presents the International Women of Courage Awards. Each awardee’s story is an inspiring reminder of how individuals can make a difference."

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