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Afghan woman receives US courage award

Afghan woman receives US courage award

Mar 09, 2012 - 16:05

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): In a proud moment for the Afghan womeninfo-icon, Maryam Durani, the Kandahar provincial council member and owner of women’s radio, on Thursday received the 2012 International Women of Courage Award from the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Maryam was among 10 of the worldinfo-icon’s leading women activists the United States honoured on Thursday for their efforts to improve the lives of other women. “This is a proud moment for the women of my country,” Maryam told Pajhwok Afghan News.

 “I feel delighted, because I feel that my work has been recognised. This award makes me more determined and work harder to achieve our goal,” she told Pajhwok in an interview after receiving the award in presence of the First Lady, Michelle Obama.      

In her remarks, Clinton praised Durani’s exceptional work in her country. “While it’s a struggle for many women in Afghanistaninfo-icon to have their voices heard, Maryam Durani is working to make sure that women’s voices aren’t only heard, but amplified and broadcasted,” Clinton said. 

“She owns and manages the only local radio station that focuses on women’s issues.  Kandahar province, where Maryam lives, is one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan, but that has not stopped her from speaking out for women’s rights and representing those ideas from her seat on the provincial council,” said the Secretary of State. 

“Airing such bold ideas in public is not always popular, and she is with us today having survived several attempts on her life.  Yet she pushes forward undeterred, ensuring that those voices and the message of equality and inclusion is heard loudly and clearly,” she said.

 “So to you, Maryam:  “Director of the Khadija Kubra Women’s Association for Culture Kandahar and Provincial Council Member: For striving to give a voice to women through the power of the media, government, and civil societyinfo-icon, despite innumerable security and societal challenges.”  We honor and applaud you,” Clinton said.

Mariam said the US has played a very important role in improving the status of women in her country after the fall of the Talibaninfo-icon. “We women started from scratch. In these 10 years, we have achieved a lot. This is good. Now women have been participating in different arena,” she said.  

In negotiations with the Taliban, Maryam argued, it is very important that the rights of women are protected and their rights are not sacrificed. During her current trip, she also met very briefly with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Among other awardees are Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo, police officer, Rio de Janeiro Military Police from Brazil; Jineth Bedoya Lima, investigative journalist from Colombia; Hana Elhebshi, architect and political activist from Libya; Aneesa Ahmed, gender-based violence (GBV) activist and former Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs from Maldives; Samar Badawi, political activist from Saudi Arabia; Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih, human rights activist from Sudan; Safak Pavey, Member of Parliament from Turkey and Zin Mar Aung, political activist from Burma.

The prestigious Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage annually recognises women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored 46 women from 34 different countries.

Established in 2007, the Award for International Women of Courage is given annually in women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk.

Following the awards ceremony, the International Women of Courage will now travel to 10 different US cities to engage with their American counterparts through the International Visitor Leadership Program.



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