Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Events and News 2012
March 5, 2012

Safak Pavey

Safak Pavey, the first disabled woman elected to the Turkish Parliament, has demonstrated great personal dignity in overcoming physical obstacles every day, while locally and globally championing the rights of vulnerable populations, including refugees and disabled persons. Whether working in extreme conditions for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, or acting as a lightning rod to spark the UN Interagency Support Group for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Pavey has sought to turn her disability into strength on a global level. After winning a seat in the Turkish parliament in June 2011, Pavey is continuing to give voice to disabled persons, women, and minority populations in Turkey as well.

Awardee from Turkey - The Honorable Safak Pavey, Member of Parliament (Turkey)

2012 International Women of Courage Ceremony and Awardees

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will host the 2012 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony with special guest First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday, March 8. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and other U.S. and foreign dignitaries will also participate. Special guests this year include Ms. Leymah Gbowee and Ms. Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The event will be held at approximately 11:00 a.m. in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of State.

The prestigious Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage annually recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored 46 women from 34 different countries.

Following the awards ceremony, the International Women of Courage will travel to 10 different U.S. cities to engage with their American counterparts through the International Visitor Leadership Program, including Bozeman, MT; Cincinnati, OH; East Lansing, MI; Indianapolis, IN; Jackson, WY; Kansas City, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Pensacola, FL; St. Louis, MO; Salt Lake City, UT; and Seattle, WA. Their visit to the U.S. began on March 5th with a stop in Pittsburgh.

The names of this year’s honorees follow and full biographies and photos are available here:

The Honorable Maryam Durani, Kandahar Provincial Council Member (Afghanistan);
Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo, police officer, Rio de Janeiro Military Police (Brazil);

Zin Mar Aung, political activist and NGO co-founder (Burma);

Jineth Bedoya Lima, investigative journalist (Colombia);
Hana Elhebshi, architect and political activist (Libya);

Aneesa Ahmed, gender-based violence (GBV) activist and former Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs (Maldives);

Shad Begum, human rights activist and founder/executive director of Anjuman Behbood-e-Khawateen Talah (the Union of Women’s Welfare) (Pakistan);

Samar Badawi, political activist (Saudi Arabia);

Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih, human rights activist (Sudan);

The Honorable Safak Pavey, Member of Parliament (Turkey)

The International Women of Courage Award Ceremony will be open to credentialed members of the media and livestreamed at

Pre-set time for cameras: 5:00 a.m. from the 23rd Street Lobby. Final access time for journalists and still photographers: 8:15 a.m. from the 23rd Street Lobby. Media representatives may attend this briefing upon presentation of one of the following: (1) a U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense, or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification (driver’s license or passport).

For further information, please contact Holly Jensen at or (202) 647-2494.