PNGEAN to receive international women of courage award

A Papua New Guinean will receive a 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award today from the First Lady Melania Trump and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon.

Veronica Tamar Simogun is currently the Director of the Family for Change Association based in Wewak, East Sepik Province.

She worked with the Department of Civil Aviation for six years before moving back to her home village Urip, in the Boykin/Dagua area of Wewak in 1986, to assist her church and community in the promotion of safe and healthy living.

Ms. Simogun has been working to help women affected by violence ever since, funding much of this work herself. She continues to run the Family for Change Association which she founded in 2012.

The 2017 awardees are:

  • Ms. Veronica Simogun, Director and Founder, Family for Change Association, Papua New Guinea
  • Ms. Sharmin Akter, Activist Against Early/ Forced Marriage, Bangladesh
  • Ms. Malebogo Molefhe, Human Rights Activist, Botswana
  • Ms. Natalia Ponce de León, President, Natalia Ponce de León Foundation, Colombia
  • Ms. Rebecca Kabugho, Political and Social Activist, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ms. Jannat Al Ghezi, Deputy Director of The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
  • Major Aïchatou Ousmane Issaka, Deputy Director of Social Work at the Military Hospital of Niamey, Niger
  • Ms. Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, Lawyer and Founder of Not One Woman Less, Peru
  • Ms. Sandya Eknelygoda, Human Rights Activist, Sri Lanka
  • Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Member, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), Syria
  • Ms. Saadet  Özkan, Educator and Gender Activist, Turkey
  • Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Blogger and Environmental Activist, Vietnam
  • Ms. Fadia Najib Thabet, Human Rights Activist, Yemen

The event will be held at the U.S. Department of State.

The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognises women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Their efforts often come at great personal risk.

Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored over 100 women from more than 60 different countries.

On April 1, the honorees will travel to cities across the United States to engage with the American people through an International Visitor Leadership Program. They will visit Atlanta, Denver, Des Moines, Minneapolis, New York, Pensacola, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, and Tampa on their individual programs.

The women will reconvene in Los Angeles to reflect on their visit and discuss ways to work together to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

Use #WomenOfCourage for news and updates about this year’s award.

Full biographies and photos are available here.

(Veronica Tamar Simogun with US Ambassador to PNG, Catherine Ebert-Gray) 

Press release