Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon 2006

Celebrating achievements in promoting education in emergency situations

May 11, 2006 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York City

Host: Lesley Stahl

Awards Presentation: Caroline Kennedy

Event Chair: Debbie Welch

Honorary Co-Chairs: Catherine O'Neill and Liv Ullmann

Co-Chairs: Glenda and John Burkhart, Katharine I. Crost, Jocelyn Cunningham, Dina Dublon, Gail Furman , Miranda M. Kaiser, Elizabeth J. Keefer, Regina S. Peruggi, Mary Anne Schwalbe, Sue Simon, David Spears and Christine Wasserstein


Christiana Thorpe is the Founding Chairperson of the Sierra Leone Chapter of the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE). She has worked tirelessly to promote access to education for youth in Sierra Leone, as well as in Guinea when she was a refugee there in 1997-1998. She has worked at both the grassroots level and the national level, including as a teacher, as the principal of a secondary school, as an official of Sierra Leone’s Department of Education and later as the Secretary of State for Education. Christiana’s work has been focused not only on girls, but also on women’s literacy and empowerment.

Aziza Ishaqzai is an Afghan refugee living in Pakistan, where she runs provincial school that serves 285 girls. Aziza has been an active advocate of girls’ education for many years, first as a teacher at home-based schools, later at non-formal education centers and finally as head teacher and chair of a women’s school management committee at her current school. When Aziza first started at her current school, it served girls only through grade 6; today classes are offered through grade 10. Graduates of the school are now teaching in other refugee camps, as well as in Afghanistan. 

Microsoft is committed to working with businesses, communities and governments to help advance social and economic well-being and to enable people around the world to realize their full potential. Microsoft works alongside governments, intergovernmental agencies and community organizations to create innovative products and collaborative programs that promote job growth and skills training, encourage the development of local industry and enhance global competitiveness for communities and nations. Among these programs are Microsoft’s flagship citizenship programs, Unlimited Potential (UP) and Partners in Learning, designed to help narrow the technology skills gap, aid global work-force development and create social and economic opportunity. Learn more at www.microsoft.com/citizenship.

The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) is a global, open network of nongovernmental organizations, UN agencies, donors, practitioners, researchers and individuals from affected populations working together within a humanitarian and development framework to ensure the right to education in emergencies and post-crisis reconstruction. INEE improves communication and coordination among its member agencies by cultivating and facilitating constructive and collaborative relationships, and creates opportunities for information sharing, resource development, advocacy and capacity building. Learn more at www.ineesite.org.