The San Diego Diplomacy Council will be hosting a recipient of the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award on March 10-14 as part of a two-week exchange program. The IWOC Award annually recognizes women from around the world who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength and leadership in acting to improve others’ lives. As part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the awardees visit U.S. universities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to share strategies and ideas to empower women around the globe.
The San Diego Diplomacy Council is hosting Yasmin Al-Qadhi from Yemen, one of 12 awardees. After obtaining her journalism degree, Al-Qadhi was one of the first women to write for local newspapers during the Arab Spring pro-democracy protests in Sanaa’a. When the civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015, Al-Qadhi and her sister Entisar established the Marib Girls Foundation. Through the foundation, she works with senior army officials to combat child recruitment and obtained the military’s commitment to release any child recruited or detained. She also raised awareness by co-producing a film about the negative effects of displacement on women and children.
Al-Qadhi still resides in Yemen, a tribal society where women are discouraged from working in public spaces. She is working to change social norms and has become a role model in her society. Both at home and abroad, she encourages women’s empowerment and meaningful participation in civil society and the United Nations-led peace process.
During her time in San Diego, Al-Qadhi’s activities will include meeting with Congresswoman Susan Davis, learning from Deputy Public Defender Geneviéve L. Jones-Wright at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) office, visiting the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Business Women in Action program, conversing with Project Concern International’s Women Empowered Initiative, and serving as the closing speaker for Academy of Our Lady Peace Women’s Symposium, at which she will also meet with local high school students. This is the fifth consecutive year the San Diego Diplomacy Council has been selected to host an International Women of Courage recipient.
The 2020 IWOC recipients received their awards at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on March 4 and are now headed to cities across the United States as part of the IVLP. The program concludes in Los Angeles, California on March 17.
“Since the inception of the International Women of Courage Award in 2007, the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program has hosted awardees in 36 communities across 23 states in the United States,” said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. “During their exchange program, the International Women of Courage awardees will meet and share ideas with Americans, creating new relationships and lasting bonds critical to U.S. foreign policy. I know that their stories and life experiences will engage, inspire and empower the Americans they meet.”
For the past 80 years, the IVLP has connected current and emerging leaders from around the world to the United States through short-term exchanges. The program has grown to include over 225,000 alumni, including more than 500 current and former heads of state, and continues to build vital linkages between U.S. citizens and emerging leaders throughout the world. The IVLP continues to play a critical role in U.S. foreign policy and provides an opportunity for the next generation of leaders to gain firsthand experience in the United States. The San Diego Diplomacy Council is proud to be a partner with the U.S. Department of State’s IVLP for the past 41 years.
For press inquiries on the IWOC Awardee’s time in San Diego, contact Sandy Young, J. Walcher Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 619-295-7140. For inquiries related to the awards ceremony and public forum, please contact ECA-Press@state.gov, telephone: 202-632-6452. Follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter at #IWOC2020 and #WomenofCourage.