2019 Mar 7
The Annual International Women of Courage Awards (IWOC) is scheduled to be at the U. S. Department of State, hosted by Secretary of State, Pompeo. The event is held to honour 10 extraordinary women from all around the world.
This year, our very own Sri Lankan Marini de Livera, attorney-at-law, women and children’s rights activist and advocate of the arts is a recipient of this prestigious award!
The selected women are extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, more often than not at great personal risk and sacrifice.
The women of courage are nominated annually by U. S. diplomatic missions overseas and the finalists are selected and approved of by senior State Department officials. Since 2007, over 120 women have been recognized from over 65 nations worldwide.
Donning many roles in her personal and professional life, Marini de Livera has under her belt the roles of a human rights trainer for the Sri Lanka Army and Police, a member in the Child Soldiers’ Rehabilitation Committee, Prison Reforms Committee, and an active participant in the setting up of the Women’s Caucus in Parliament under the Parliamentary Modernization Programme initiated by the UNDP. She has also held top positions in local ministries including that of the Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority.
This remarkable lady has endless experience as a keynote speaker on numerous platforms including the Colombo Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne, and even the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Kennedy School of Government at the Harvard University.
This Licentiate teacher in Speech and Drama at Trinity College London is also the Founder and Chairperson of Sisters at Law, where she serves as a pro bono lawyer for women and child victims of crime and promotes alternative care for children trapped in orphanages. As a passionate advocate of the arts, she uses the visual arts and drama to create legal literacy among the public. She has her own street theatre group that travels around the country performing plays related to human rights issues.
Marini de Livera also chaired the committee that drafted the amendments to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.
The official ceremony will take place on Thursday, March 7, at 10:00 a.m. at the Department of State. Following the official award ceremony and meetings or interviews with government officials, NGOs, media, and others in Washington, DC., IWOC honorees will travel to individual U.S. cities on the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). American organizations and businesses will host IWOC awardees and collaborate with them on strategies and ideas to empower women both in the United States and abroad. The awardees will reconvene in Los Angeles for a closing ceremony before returning to their home countries.
The 2019 #WomenofCourage are listed below. You can read all about them right here.
• Razia Sultana of Bangladesh
• Naw K’nyaw Paw of Burma
• Moumina Houssein Darar of Djibouti
• Mama Maggie of Egypt
• Colonel Khalida Khalaf Hanna al-Twal of Jordan
• Sister Orla Treacy of Ireland
• Olivera Lakic of Montenegro
• Flor de Maria Vega Zapata of Peru
• Marini de Livera of Sri Lanka
• Anna Aloys Henga of Tanzania