Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy is delighted to host Ms. Zahra Mohamed Ahmad from Somalia, one of the U.S Secretary of State's 2021 International Woman of Courage Award recipients. An award that honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others, from families to communities to countries.
For more than 20 years, Zahra Mohamed Ahmad has been at the forefront of defending human rights in Somalia, especially for its most vulnerable groups. As an accomplished lawyer, Zahra began providing legal aid for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) survivors, women on remand status, and women in pre-trial detention. Zahra is the founder of and legal advisor for the Somali Women Development Center, an organization that reports on human rights violations and cases of abuse; supports survivors through legal assistance; established Somalia’s first free hotline service to combat SGBV; and operates one-stop centers for SGBV survivors, mobile legal clinics, family care centers, safe spaces for women and girls, and community child protection centers for internally displaced children.
As an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participant, Zahra will engage in virtual meetings with the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, Salt Lake City Police Department Domestic Violence Division, and Utah Office for Victims of Crime.
About International Women of Courage:
On Monday, March 8, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken hosted the annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards virtual ceremony to honor a group of extraordinary women from around the world, including an honorary award for seven women leaders and activists from Afghanistan who were assassinated for their dedication to improving the lives of Afghans. The First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, delivered remarks to recognize the courageous accomplishments of these women.
Now in its 15th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment – often at great personal risk and sacrifice. From the inception of this award in March 2007 to today, the Department of State has recognized more than 155 awardees from over 75 countries. U.S. diplomatic missions overseas nominate one woman of courage from their respective host countries, and finalists are selected and approved by senior Department officials. Following the virtual IWOC ceremony, the awardees will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) virtual exchange and connect with their American counterparts.