Photo Credit: Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security
On December 6, 2021, the Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) held a ceremony to recognize the five recipients of the 2021 Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security. Ambassador Melanne Verveer, the executive director of GIWPS, began by welcoming the honorees and diplomatic attendees, and by acknowledging Afghan women in attendance. Ambassador Verveer welcomed the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton to the stage, where she shared memories of her pivotal speech delivered at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China on September 5, 1995. During those remarks, Clinton famously stated, “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.” Each of the award recipients had been in attendance for that 1995 Conference and credited Clinton’s words to motivating their careers toward advancing human rights through promoting the security, equality, and success of women in their home countries and around the globe.
The following were the recipients of the 2021 Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security:
The Honorable Patricia Espinosa: Espinosa is a Mexican politician and diplomat currently serving as the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Espinosa has served as the Mexican ambassador to Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Slovakia, and as the Mexican minister of foreign affairs. Throughout Espinosa’s career, she has been a voice for the fight against climate change, the promotion of gender equality, and the protection of human rights.
Dr. Marina Pisklakova-Parker: Dr. Pisklakova-Parker is a Russian women’s rights activist, the founder and chair of ANNA (National Center for the Prevention of Violence), and the creator of the first domestic violence hotline for reporting domestic abuse in Russia. Through work with ANNA and its network of 150 organizations dedicated to combating gender-based violence, Dr. Pisklakova-Parker raises public awareness about the issue of violence against women in Russia.
Palwasha Hassan: Hassan is the director of the Afghan Women’s Educational Center and a founding member of the Afghan Women’s Network. Hassan advocates for increasing the political quota for women in the Afghan constitution and pioneered the first women’s legal support organization in Afghanistan. Hassan was a finalist for the Sakharov Prize, given out by the European Parliament, and was a nominee for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Nyardadzayi Gumbonzvanda: Dr. Gumbonzvanda is a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer currently serving as the Africa Union’s Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage. She is also the founder and chief executive of the Rozaria Memorial Trust (RMT), which leads policy development and governance work promoting women and children. Dr. Gumbonzvanda has advocated for gender equality and health in crisis countries for over 20 years and has served as the general secretary of the World YWCA, a global movement serving 25 million women and girls in over 120 countries.
Guo Jianmei: Guo is a Chinese lawyer and human rights activist dedicated to working on behalf of marginalized persons in China. Guo founded China’s first legal aid clinic, The Center for Women’s Law Studies and Legal Services of Peking University, which protects women’s rights, proposes legislation, and publicizes the plight of women abused by their husbands. Since 1995, the team has offered free legal counseling to more than 120,00 women in China. Guo has helped draft laws, including “The Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women.”
While each of the recipients has found unique ways to promote the peace and security of women in their countries and around the world, what rang true amongst them all was an air of perseverance and dedication to the causes they have done so much to promote. Their words shared near the end of the ceremony highlighted the importance of current and future generations worldwide addressing key issues to ensure the safety and equality of all citizens.
Ambassador Verveer ended the event by thanking the recipients for their decades of work, as well as the people and organizations responsible for managing and hosting the event. Ambassador Verveer urged everyone to visit the special exhibition at Georgetown’s Lauinger Library, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” which commemorates not only the events at the 1995 World Conference on Women, but the spark they lit leading to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the inspiration of a generation dedicated to advances in education, health care, political representation, legal reform, and end of violence against women around the world.
Information for recipients provided by GIWPS.