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Myanmar Woman to Receive 2019 International Women of Courage Award

March 7th, 2019  •  Author:   U.S. Embassy in Burma  •  3 minute read

Yangon – Today, March 7, Secretary of State Pompeo is hosting the 13th Annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award at the U.S. Department of State to honor 10 extraordinary women from around the world. First Lady of the United States Melania Trump will deliver special remarks at the ceremony, which will be streamed live on at 9:30 p.m. local time in Yangon (10:00 a.m. in Washington D.C.).

The U.S. Embassy Yangon proudly announces that Naw K’nyaw Paw from Myanmar is among the awardees. Naw K’nyaw Paw is a lifelong peace activist and General Secretary of the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO), an ethnic women’s organization which supports gender equality and indigenous people’s rights in Myanmar. At great personal risk, Naw K’nyaw Paw and the KWO have documented sexual and gender-based violence in conflict in Myanmar since 2004. In 2017, under her leadership, the KWO was the first, and one of the few, in Myanmar to condemn publicly the military-led violence against the Muslim community in northern Rakhine State. Now in its 33rd year as an organization, the KWO continues to work for peace and a united civilian government in Myanmar, while also working to improve the lives of women and children in conflict-affected communities in Karen State.

The award recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment. Naw K’nyaw Paw is the third woman from Myanmar to receive the International Women of Courage Award. The previous Myanmar awardees are:

2015: May Sabe Phyu is Executive Director, Gender Equality Network, and co-Founder of Kachin Peace Network, is leading efforts to end discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities.

2013: Zin Mar Aung is a former political prisoner who has dedicated her life to promoting democracy, women’s empowerment, and conflict resolution. She is currently serving as a Member of Parliament.

The bios of all the 2019 awardees including Naw K’nyaw Paw are located here and their names are listed below:

  • Naw K’nyaw Paw of Myanmar
  • Razia Sultana of Bangladesh
  • Moumina Houssein Darar of Djibouti
  • Mama Maggie of Egypt
  • Colonel Khalida Khalaf Hanna al-Twal of Jordan
  • Sister Orla Treacy of Ireland
  • Olivera Lakic of Montenegro
  • Flor de María Vega Zapata of Peru
  • Marini de Livera of Sri Lanka
  • Anna Aloys Henga of Tanzania

Following the official award ceremony and meetings or interviews with government officials, NGOs, media, and others in Washington, DC, IWOC honorees will travel to individual U.S. cities on the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). American organizations and businesses will host IWOC awardees and collaborate with them on strategies and ideas to empower women both in the United States and abroad. The awardees will reconvene in Los Angeles for a closing ceremony before returning to their home countries.

View this original press release HERE.