Former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with First Lady Michelle Obama honored 10 other women from around the world Tuesday with the International Women of Courage Awards, which are awarded by the State Department.
Marking International Women’s Day, Clinton welcomed 8 honorees to the State Department, including Roze Otunbayeva, the president of the Kyrgyz Republic, the first head of state to receive this honor.
Recipients included members of government, lawyers, businesswomen, journalists and supporters of human rights from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Cameroon, Hungary China and Mexico.
Clinton addressed recent turmoil in Egypt and Libya.
“Women in Egypt and Tunisia and other nations have just as much right as the men to remake their governments, to make them responsive, accountable, transparent. We will certainly be watching and the world will watch.”
Two of the award winners could not be at the ceremony. Blogger Yoani Sanchez of Cuba and Nasta Palazhanka of Malady Front, a non-government organization in Belarus, were not permitted by their countries to attend.
Clinton noted their absence and stated,”we are with them in spirit and we salute them for everything they are doing on behalf of their countries and their people.”
Hillary Clinton also recognized all of the awardees and commended each on how they “have found the strength to persevere in the face of fear, isolation, or repression. And they have done so not just one day or one year but day after day and year after year.”
Michelle Obama took the opportunity to praise Clinton as well, commenting that she has been “a heckuva Secretary of State.”
“She has been an inspiration to women and girls around the world,” Mrs Obama said of Mrs Clinton. “She is a role model for me in so many ways. I don’t think she realizes how what she has done has made what I am doing partially possible.”
While speaking about the incredible accomplishments of the recipients, Obama praised Yoani Sanchez saying “there’s a journalist and blogger who writes the stories no one else will write.”
Clinton also announced the State Department would team up with Goldman-Sachs as financial partner to expand the 10,000 Women Initiative to include 100 more women in the next two years with a focus on Indonesia and Haiti.