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2024 Voices of Courage Awards

Honorees | Women, Peace, and Security Champion Award | Lifetime Achievement Award | Musical Guest
2024 Voices of Courage Awards Header

Please join us as we celebrate 35 years of impact and honor inspiring leaders who stand for justice, equality, and humanity.

Together with our community of partners and supporters, the Women’s Refugee Commission works to protect the lives and rights of displaced women and girls, and to transform the humanitarian system so it is more responsive to their needs and solutions.

Reception: 5:30 p.m. ET
Dinner and Program: 6:30 p.m. ET

For more information, contact us at dev@wrcommission.org.

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2024 Voices of Courage Honorees

The Women’s Refugee Commission celebrates our 2024 Voices of Courage honorees.

Deepti Gurung

Deepti GurungDeepti Gurung is a tireless Nepalese activist and advocate for the rights of stateless individuals. Her journey began from a deeply personal struggle that transformed into a broader fight for justice and equality.

As a single mother of two daughters, Deepti faced the harsh reality of Nepal’s gender-discriminatory citizenship laws, which prevented her from conferring citizenship to her children. This personal injustice fueled her determination to change the system.

Inspired by her own experience, Deepti established the Citizenship Affected People’s Network (CAPN), an organization led by affected people that is dedicated to addressing the plight of stateless individuals and those impacted by discriminatory nationality laws and other nationality right violations. She advocates for recognizing gender-equal nationality rights and statelessness as pressing human rights issues, rather than merely a political or diplomatic concern.

Deepti’s work has not only secured citizenship for numerous individuals, but also brought much-needed attention to the broader issues of gender discrimination and statelessness in Nepal.

Rowida Tariq

Rowida TariqRowida Tariq is a dedicated humanitarian from Sudan. When war broke out in her country in 2023, she was displaced. Her family fled to Egypt, but she chose to remain in Sudan to continue her work providing education and psychosocial support to more than 10,000 children and training more than 400 teachers.

Rowida began her work with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) setting up education programs for refugees from Tigray, providing safe learning spaces for more than 7,000 children. She helped establish NRC’s first youth project in Sudan, offering 3,000 youth training, language literacy programs, vocational activities, and recreational options.

She was seconded as a project manager to NRC’s Syria response office for six months and helped respond to the earthquake in February 2023.

“I believe education is a fundamental right and a powerful tool for building resilience in young people facing crisis,” says Rowida. “I am driven to create safe learning spaces and empower youth to become agents of positive change in their communities.”

Women, Peace, and Security Champion Award

Abigail E. Disney

Abigail E. DisneyAbigail E. Disney advocates for real changes to the way capitalism operates in today’s world. As a philanthropist and social activist, she has worked with organizations supporting peacebuilding, gender justice, and systemic cultural change.

She is a documentary filmmaker who won an Emmy for “The Armor of Light.” Her latest film, “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales,” which she co-directed with Kathleen Hughes, made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The film screened in select theaters and is available on-demand. In Season 4 of the podcast “All Ears,” Abigail used the film as a jumping-off point to ask big-thinking business leaders, union organizers, economists, and others how they would fix our broken economy.

Abigail is chair and co-founder of Level Forward, an ecosystem of storytellers, entrepreneurs, and social change-makers dedicated to balancing artistic vision, social impact, and stakeholder return. She also created the nonprofit Peace is Loud, which uses storytelling to advance social movements, and the Daphne Foundation, which supports organizations working for a more equitable, fair, and peaceful New York City.

Lifetime Gender Equality Leadership Award

Ambassador Geeta Rao Gupta

Ambassador Geeta Rao GuptaAmbassador Geeta Rao Gupta is the fourth Ambassador-at-Large for the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the US Department of State and the first woman of color to hold the position.

She previously served as senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation and senior advisor to Co-impact, a global collaborative philanthropy for systems change. From 2012 to 2016, Ambassador Rao Gupta served as deputy executive director, programmes at UNICEF and prior to that as a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier, Gupta served as president of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) for more than a decade.

Ambassador Rao Gupta has also chaired numerous boards, including the Global Advisory Board of Women Lift Health, an initiative to promote women’s leadership in global health, and served as a member of WHO’s Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for Health Emergencies, the Board of UBS Optimus Foundation, and the Advisory Board of Merck for Mothers. She also served as a commissioner for the Lancet-SIGHT Commission on Health, Gender Equality, and Peace.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including InterAction’s Julia Taft Award for Outstanding Leadership, Harvard University’s Anne Roe Award, and Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Award.

Ambassador Rao Gupta holds a PhD in psychology from Bangalore University and an MPhil and MA from the University of Delhi in India.

Musical Guest

Alsarah & The Nubatones

Alsarah & The Nubatones Alsarah & The Nubatones were born out of many dinner conversations between Alsarah and Rami El Aasser about Nubian “songs of return,” modern migration patterns, and the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt. A common love for the richness of pentatonic sounds and shared migration experiences expanded the conversation to include Armenian–American oud player Haig Manoukian and French-born Togo-raised bass player Mawuena Kodjovi.

Under the leadership of Alsarah, the Brooklyn-based group’s sound grew into what they have dubbed “East-African retro-pop.” Signed to Wonderwheel Recordings, their debut album “Silt” was released to international acclaim in 2014 and their sophomore release “Manara” topped the “2016 Best of Lists.”

Always trying to connect the musical dots, both her full-length albums with The Nubatones saw them reimagined and remixed by various acclaimed electronic producers in 2015’s Silt Remixed and 2017’s Manara Remixed (both via Wonderwheel Recordings). Between albums, Alsarah also works with the Sudanese artist collective Refugee Club Productions on a variety of projects including the critically acclaimed documentary “Beats of the Antonov.”

Alsarah’s star quality and expressive live performances with The Nubatones have seen the band play some of the world’s finest festivals: Glastonbury Festival, Roskilde Festival, and WOMAD Festival, and amassing fans, including The Roots’ Questlove, with their spellbinding and eclectic East African retro-pop.

Photo credit: Nousha Salimi