Yesterday I had a chance to attend a ceremony of the Woman of Distinction award that took place at the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations. It was especially exciting for me since I am an international student from Kazakhstan at Lehigh University.
It was an adventure for me because I had to ask a professor to take a quiz in the morning for my evening class so I can attend this very special and inspiring event. My classmate gave a ride to me and I caught a bus that was going to NYC from Pennsylvania.
I arrived at the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan at 6 p.m. I was very excited to meet representatives of NGOs who are passionate about the topic of preventing all forms of violence against women. There were more than 350 participants! Her Excellency Berganym Aitimova Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United Nations gave a speech welcoming the participants of the CSW conference at the mission.
I wanted to say that by attending the ceremony I also learnt that receptions and side events provide networking opportunities for representatives of various international NGOs to meet each other and discuss some ideas informally. So I had a chance to meet representatives of American NGOs from California, Florida and international delegations from Nigeria and the United Kingdom. From our conversations I understood that issues of gender inequality are global. They touch the United States and the United Kingdom as well.
You can find more information about the Women of Distinction award following this link: http://www.ngocsw.org/woman-of-distinction
Here is short information about the recipients from the ngocsw.org:
“2013 RecipientsBineta Diop (Senegal), is the Founder and President of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), one of the most recognised organizations involved in engendering peace processes in Africa. She has led numerous peacebuilding programmes in the Great Lakes region (Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo), Mano River region (Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) and the Horn of Africa (Somalia and Sudan). Ms. Diop’s track record includes a women, peace and security initiative that resulted in the creation of a strong West African women’s movement, the Mano River Women’s Peace Network, which was awarded the United Nations General Assembly Prize in Human Rights in 2003. Ms. Diop also mobilised a network of African women’s organizations that played an instrumental role in achieving gender parity within the African Union Commission in 2003, which culminated in the election of five female Commissioners. She has demonstrated vision and leadership, and is recognised as a champion on women’s human rights and gender issues, not only in Africa but at the global level. Ms Diop is currently serving in the Global Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women and as a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Ms. Diop has received numerous honours and awards and in 2011 was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2012, the United Nations-mandated University for Peace awarded her a “Doctor Honoris Causa in International Peace Studies” and the French government awarded her the prestigious “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur”.
Tawakkol Karman (Yemen) is the Yemeni political activist who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with two other female activists in 2011, becoming the youngest person ever to win the Prize. During the “Arab Spring” of 2010 and 2011, as activists were fighting entrenched rulers in countries like Egypt and Tunisia, Karman began leading Yemeni protests against the rule of President Saleh, earning the nickname “Mother of the Revolution.” She is also one of the founders of Women Journalists Without Chains, which works to provide a voice for women’s rights and freedom of expression in Yemen.”
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Thanks again for reading my entry. Let me quote the phrase that circulates at the UN: “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”