International NGO Vital Voices, Founded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Recognizes Nine Women Leaders and Announces 2012 Global Leadership Awards Honorees

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Mexican Anti-Corruption Politician Ruth Zavaleta Salgado; Saudi Arabian Driving Activist Manal Al Sharif, Liberian Girl Soldier Rehabilitator Rosana Schaack; Samoan Organic Entrepreneur Adi Tafuna’I; Samar Minallah Khan, Pakistani Cultural Practices Documentary Maker; Tunisian Social Media Influencer Monitoring Parliament Amira Yahyaoui and Others.

Vital Voices Global Partnership

Vital Voices President and CEO Alyse Nelson today announced the program for the 2012 Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, to be held in Washington, DC, June 6, 2012 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Featured participants to include Chelsea Clinton; Tina Brown; Mariane Pearl; Diane von Furstenberg; Claire Shipman; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; Chair of the Board of Vital Voices Susan Ann Davis and Vice-Chair of the Board Dr. Carol Lancaster.

Now in its 11th year, the Global Leadership Awards honor courageous, innovative women whose leadership advances economic, political and social progress in their communities and beyond. The organization, formed in 1997 as an initiative of the U.S Department of State by then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, trains and mentors leaders in a growing network of 12,000 women in 144 countries.

“The women chosen this year personify conviction, ingenuity and courage. In the face of unprecedented economic, political, military and cultural challenges each has demonstrated a kind of leadership which has immeasurably improved their communities, their nations and our humanity. The irreversible momentum of women’s global leadership is here to permanently transform our society,” commented Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices.

The 2012 Global Leadership Awards honorees include:

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD: ROSANA SHAACK, a Liberian activist rehabilitating girl soldiers

LEADERSHIP IN PUBLIC LIFE: RUTH ZAVALETA SALGADO, a Mexican politician and former speaker of the house of representatives who exposed widespread corruption within her own party

ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AWARD: ADI TAFUNA’I, a Samoan who is innovating rural economic systems to produce local goods and stimulate trade in isolated communities throughout the Pacific region

FERN HOLLAND AWARD: SAMAR MINALLAH KHAN, a documentarian working in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier to produce films about women’s rights and child marriage

GLOBAL TRAILBLAZER AWARD: Women Transforming the Middle East
MARIANNE IBRAHIM, a Coptic Egyptian who leads interfaith dialogue, trains women to run for office and has inserted herself into the drafting of the constitution to lobby for the inclusion of women’s rights
AMIRA YAHYAOUI, a Tunisian blogger and fierce anti-censorship activist who has created the first NGO to monitor parliament and report on human rights abuses
MANAL AL SHARIF, a Saudi woman who defied a cultural norm and was imprisoned after deciding to film herself driving, she is leading a national campaign for women’s right to drive
SALWA BUGAIGHIS, one of two Libyan women in the NTC, she resigned from the council because she felt women’s presence was nominal and now works outside the system to mobilize women candidates for this summer’s election
SHATHA AL-HARAZI, a journalist reporting on human rights for Yemen Times who gained national attention as a social media influencer

To purchase tickets and view additional information about the 2012 Global Leadership Awards, please visit

Follow us on Twitter @VitalVoices and Facebook at for news and highlights. The event hash tag is #vvlead.

Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to remarkable women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network includes more than 12,000 leaders representing 144 countries who have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities. Visit to learn more.

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Margaux Bergen
Vital Voices
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