One of the most prestigious Awards bestowed by the U.S. Department of State is the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award. Now in its 16th year, it recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls, in all their diversity – often at great personal risk and sacrifice.
Since March 2007, the Department of State has recognized more than 170 women from over 80 countries with the IWOC Award. 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.
We are extremely thrilled to see that two of the 12 recipients of this year’s IWOC Award are Doina Gherman from the Republic of Moldova and Carmen Gheorghe from Romania.
Doina Gherman has served in the Moldovan Parliament since 2019, where she has championed efforts to promote women’s inclusion and protect survivors of domestic and gender-based violence. She is the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) deputy chair, head of the PAS Women’s Organization, chairs Parliament’s Foreign Policy and European Integration Commission, and previously served in Parliament’s Human Rights Commission. Before entering Parliament, she worked as an inspector in Moldova’s Customs Service and taught Communication and Branding at the Institute of Sciences in Education. Ms. Gherman earned a master’s degree in Management from the Moldovan Academy of Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from Balti State University. She speaks Romanian, Russian, French, and English.
Since 2013, Carmen Gheorghe has been the president of E-Romnja, an NGO that promotes Roma women’s rights. From 2008-2019 she worked as a project manager, expert, and trainer on LGBTQI+, gender, and Roma issues for several reputable NGOs in Romania, including the “Împreună” Agency for Community Development, the Roma Education Fund, the LGBQTI+ rights NGO ACCEPT, the Center for Education and Human Rights, and the Resource Center for Roma Communities, a spin-off organization of the Open Society Foundation. Prior to this, Dr. Gheorghe worked as an expert for the National Agency for Roma, a governmental agency in charge of developing policies for Roma communities. She has a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration (2006), a master’s degree in Gender Studies (2008), and a Ph.D. in Political Science (2014) from the Bucharest-based National School of Political Science and Public Administration.
You can watch live the virtual IWOC ceremony which will feature First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, March 14 at 10:00 am EST. A recording of the event will also be available at the same link: https://womenofcourage.state.gov/
Following the virtual IWOC ceremony, the awardees will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Virtual exchange to connect with their American counterparts and strengthen the global network of women leaders. More specifically, they will interact with local and state officials, academics and community leaders from eight different cities from throughout the U.S.: Boston, Des Moines, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland (OR), and Tulsa.