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IPDGC celebrates International Women’s Day

On Friday, March 6, IPDGC was honored to be able to recognize the awardees of the 2020 Secretary of State International Women of Courage (IWOC) award at George Washington University.

Together with the Elliott School of International Affairs and the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs (GEIA), IPDGC hosted the event which included a panel discussion with three of the 2020 IWOC awardees.

IPDGC Director Janet Steele warmly welcomed and introduced the 12 awardees to a room filled with students, faculty, and invited guests.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Steele explained that the IWOC award honors women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, women’s empowerment, and social progress, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. This is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide.

She noted the IWOC awardees had inspiring stories to share, “(and) that I hope we can take away from meeting them today, is that none of them set out to be heroes – but when they saw that something was wrong, they stepped up, they acted, and they did what they could to bring about change”.

Following the official award ceremony and meetings in Washington, D.C., the IWOC awardees embark on an International Visitor Leadership Program to visit American organizations and businesses and collaborate with their leadership on strategies and ideas to empower women both in the United States and abroad.

Watch the event here:

Opening Remarks

IPDGC Director, Janet Steele, gives opening remarks at the 2020 IWOC event.


Panel with 2020 IWOC awardees.

IWOC awardee Amaya Coppens

Amaya Coppens from Nicaragua talking about her activism.

Roses for the IWOC attendees

IWOC recipient Amina Khoulani (Syria) giving her fellow awardees roses at the start of the event.

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