First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will host the 2010 International Women of Courage Awards on March 10, at 3:00pm at the Department of State.
Vital Voices and Avon will host a Breakfast Meeting of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Women at 8:30 am at the Department of State. Secretary Clinton founded the Vital Voices Global Partnership, a leading international NGO dedicated to supporting emerging women leaders, after the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to promote the advancement of women as a U.S. foreign policy goal. Breakfast speakers will include Alyse Nelson, President of Vital Voices; Reese Witherspoon, Global Ambassador for the Avon Foundation; and Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO of Avon Products.
Clinton announced that Sonia Pierre is among those to bestowed the honor of the International Women of Courage Awards for her “exceptional courage and leadership” as one of 10 in the world who most contributed to the feminist movement. The 2010 International Women of Courage Awards will be given to outstanding women of Afghanistan, Cyprus, Iran, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Zimbabwe.
Sonia Pierre, representing the Dominican Republic, is the founder and leader of MUDHA (Movement of Dominican-Haitian Women). The organization works to address the problems that Haitians and their children born in the Dominican Republic face, and tries to reform the problems in documenting people in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic that give rise to a class of people unable to reap the benefits and protections of nationality and citizenship. Ms. Pierre has used a campaign of public education and legal action to reform the Dominican Republic’s birth registration system and to build awareness of how statelessness deprives people of access to crucial human rights such as healthcare, education, and safe housing and working conditions.
MUDHA has built homes in migrant labor areas, partnered with other individuals and organizations to ensure migrant workers have access to food and medicine, and provided services to address issues of adolescent pregnancy and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The organization works with undocumented laborers to ensure their rights are upheld and that they have access to social security, pensions, and severance pay. [Also see Sonia Pierre and the Dominican-Haitian Women’s Movement.]
For more information, see http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/03/137890.htm, http://vitalvoices.org/, and http://www.state.gov/s/gwi/iwoc/2010/bio/137493.htm
Photo of Sonia Pierre from http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article6451