SAVE THE DATE: May 6, 2010 is next year's Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon.
The 2009 Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon celebrated our 20th anniversary and honored refugee voices of courage.
In recognition of the Women's Refugee Commission's work, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City proclaimed May 7, 2009 "Women's Refugee Commission Day." Learn about the history of the Women's Refugee Commission
For two decades, the Women’s Refugee Commission has pushed for laws, policies and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, children and young people—bringing about lasting, measurable change.
Every year, the Voices of Courage Awards honor two voices of courage who have dedicated themselves to advocating for other refugees. Despite extraordinary challenges, their efforts have improved the lives of countless women and their families.
View photos from our 2009 Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon
Photos by Don Pollard/Women's Refugee Commission
Dr. Shamail was the first woman physician to return to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in December 2001, leading a team of women physicians who delivered life-saving maternal and child health care services. Today, she serves as International Medical Corps’ medical director in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, overseeing health programs for more than 150,000 Afghan refugees still living in the camps. Her work has focused in particular on the needs of women and children, as well as providing education and training to prevent violence against women.
When Mariatu Kamara was 12 years old, young rebels in Sierra Leone captured her and cut off both her hands. Today, at 22, Mariatu is a college student in Toronto, Canada, where she is studying to become a counselor for abused women and children. She is a UNICEF Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and is co-author of her recently released memoir, The Bite of the Mango. In the future, she hopes to work for the United Nations, raising awareness of the impact of war on children, and to run her own foundation to raise money for homes for abused women and children in Sierra Leone. Text of remarks
Lesley Stahl has been a 60 MINUTES correspondent since March 1991. She recently sat down with Gen. Ray Odierno for his first interview since becoming commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. Prior to joining 60 MINUTES, Ms. Stahl served as CBS News White House correspondent during the Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies. From 1983 to 1991, she also served as moderator of FACE THE NATION, CBS News' Sunday public-affairs broadcast. Her experiences covering Washington for more than 20 years became the subject of her book Reporting Live. Ms. Stahl has a collection of Emmy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy.
Liv Ullmann is co-founder of the Women’s Refugee Commission and remains a passionate advocate for the rights of women, children and adolescent refugees worldwide. She is also Vice Chair, International, of the International Rescue Committee. Ms. Ullmann was born in Japan to Norwegian parents but spent most of her childhood in Norway. Her portrayal of a mute actress in Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 movie "Persona" brought her to the world’s attention. Her collaboration with Bergman lasted for more than a decade and she received two “Best Actress” Oscar nominations for her roles in the films "Face to Face" and "Choices." More recently she has moved to the other side of the camera to a successful directing career. Her movie "Faithless" received international acclaim and was a contender for the Golden Palm at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. She is currently working on the play "A Streetcar Named Desire," directing a cast that features Cate Blanchett. The play will run in Sydney, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2009.