Hillary Clinton, Christiane Amanpour and Georgetown President John J. DeGioia stand on stage of Gaston Hall and Amanpour holds an award.
Category: University News

Title: Georgetown, Hillary Clinton Honor Journalist Christiane Amanpour and Women Peace Leaders

On Oct. 5, Hillary Clinton and Georgetown honored women peace leaders, including CNN anchor, journalist and war correspondent Christiane Amanpour for her trailblazing reporting and uplifting of women’s voices and stories from Afghanistan to Iran. 

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security (GIWPS) recognized Amanpour and three other awardees from Yemen, Syria and Sudan at the 2023 Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards, an annual ceremony that celebrates exceptional women leaders who promote women’s rights and create a more peaceful and secure world. 

During this year’s ceremony, GIWPS honored Amanpour; Ghalia Alrahhal, a human rights advocate and executive director of the Mazaya Organization for Women’s Development in Syria; Muna Luqman, founder and executive director of Food4Humanity and a peace and security leader in Yemen; and Alaa Salah, a civil rights, human rights and democracy activist in Sudan.

“We gather again this year to keep up the momentum, to recognize the roles that women play in peace and security and to keep urging that more governments and more multilateral institutions do more to include women’s voices,” said Clinton, the honorary founding chair of GIWPS.

GIWPS, led by Executive Director Ambassador Melanne Verveer, also leads cutting edge research, convenes agenda-setting events and symposia and advances global policy through efforts like their Onward for Afghan Women initiative and the Women, Peace and Security Index. The awards are an opportunity to highlight the women and individuals who are leading government and grassroots efforts to advance women’s rights around the globe.

“We’re deeply grateful for this opportunity to recognize each of you at this ceremony, entitled ‘Voices for Peace: Celebrating Courageous Women in Journalism and Peacebuilding,’” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “I want to thank you for your leadership for your outstanding achievements, forging paths for peace, democracy, human rights and the inclusion of women’s voices around the world.”

In her opening remarks, Clinton reflected on the forces at work, such as climate change, technological advances and geopolitical change, that disproportionately impact women. The award’s theme, celebrating courageous women in journalism and peacebuilding, recognizes the women who are standing up for democracy, human rights and progress in their day-to-day lives, she said.

“Protecting and promoting a free press is critical to all of us, to our democracy, our sense of security and freedom, and it’s imperative that we have women’s perspectives in journalism, just as we must have in national security and diplomacy,” Clinton said. 

Learn more about each awardee and how they will continue to use their platform to advance women’s voices, peace and human rights around the globe.

Christiane Amanpour

Chief International Anchor for CNN and Host of CNN International’s Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour smiles on the stage of Georgetown's Gaston Hall.
Christiane Amanpour, host of CNN International’s Amanpour, was honored at the 2023 Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards.

Amanpour, an award-winning war correspondent and human rights advocate, was honored for her courageous reporting from war zones, for giving voice to women, men and children whose stories may not otherwise be told, and for her leadership for women in journalism. 

“Christiane Amanpour is a courageous war correspondent who has shed light on some of the darkest corners of the globe,” said GIWPS Executive Director Verveer. “She has put her life in danger to give voice to those who are suffering from the consequences of what she is covering.”

During a panel discussion, Amanpour reflected on the erasure of women and girls’ rights in Afghanistan and answered a student’s question about how to be an activist and journalist. She said she developed a mantra of being “truthful, not neutral.”

“I developed my mantra ‘be truthful, not neutral’ in Bosnia where there was a clear war of aggression,” she said. “All journalists have to figure out what it is they’re watching, what it is they’re witnessing.” 

“I do try to always, in my reporting, talk about the women and the children because it does provide the template and the story for what’s actually going on in society.”

Christiane Amanpour

Ghalia Alrahhal

Executive Director of the Mazaya Organization for Women’s Development and Human Rights Defender, Syria

Executive Director Ambassador Melanne Verveer stands behind a podium in Gaston Hall and introduces a video behind her of Ghalia Alrahhal, an award recipient.
Ghalia Alrahhal, a human rights defender in Syria, was honored virtually at the 2023 Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards.

Ghalia Alrahhal, a former hairdresser who founded the Syrian women’s political movement, converted her beauty salon into a women’s center that provides education and first aid to women and children in Syria. She appeared in a video to receive the award and was honored for her leadership in women’s advocacy and peacebuilding. 

“Ghalia Alrahhal’s journey from an arranged teen marriage in a town in Idlib, Syria to becoming a transformative leader in women’s empowerment and peace advocacy exemplifies the remarkable impact an individual can have in shaping a more just society,” said Verveer. 

“The Syrian woman — after facing all these impossible circumstances and creating that tremendous difference in her life and in her community — has become a symbol of peace, a source of inspiration, and a realistic hope in creating a better future.”

Ghalia Alrahhal

Muna Luqman

Founder and Executive Director of Food4Humanity, Co-Founder of the Women’s Solidarity Network, and a Peace and Security Strategist, Yemen

Muna Luqman speaks on the stage of Gaston Hall at an awards ceremony.
Muna Luqman, a peace and security strategist in Yemen, was honored at the 2023 Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards.

Muna Luqman, who founded a humanitarian organization that provides emergency relief for families in Yemen, was honored for her work advocating for women’s participation in peace processes in her country. 

Georgetown recognized her “tireless efforts to foster peace, justice and equality in Yemen, for connecting humanitarian assistance, peace and development to address the multi-crises of conflict and climate change through a holistic approach, and for demonstrating the power of women’s leadership at the grassroots level as first responders and advocating still for their inclusion in relief operations,” said Verveer.

“I did not come here to accept only this award, I came here to seek justice for the Yemeni people.”

Muna Luqman

Alaa Salah

Sudanese Democracy Activist, Civil Society Leader and Human Rights Activist

Hillary Clinton, Alaa Salah and Georgetown President John J. DeGioia stand on stage of Gaston Hall as Alaa holds a gold award.
Alaa Salah, a Sudanese democracy activist, civil society leader and human rights activist, was honored at the 2023 Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards.

Alaa Salah became known as “Lady Liberty” of Sudan’s revolution after a video of her standing on top of a car and leading chants in Sudan in 2019 went viral. She was honored for her work empowering women and advocating for social change and peacebuilding in Sudan. 

“Through her courage and determination Alaa has galvanized not only her fellow citizens, but also the global community,” said Verveer. “Her influence has extended beyond her own generation, inspiring countless individuals, especially Sudanese women, to rise and demand their rightful place in shaping the course of their nation.” 

“We still aspire to forming a democratic government in Sudan; one that respects and honors women, children and human rights.”

Alaa Salah

Students Following in Their Footsteps

Two female students pose together in front of the stage in Gaston Hall after the 2023 Hillary Clinton Awards ceremony.
Joy Yang (C’27) (left) and Jennifer Hoover (SFS’27) (right) are first-year students who attend the awards ceremony.

Jennifer Hoover (SFS’27) and Joy Yang (C’27) are first-year students who attended the event. Hoover, who chose Georgetown because of its guest speakers and events, found the awards gave her firsthand experience she couldn’t get from the classroom – and she’s eager to continue learning and attending events. 

“I get to actually hear about it and see their own experiences,” she said. “It’s much better than just reading something online or from a book.”

For Yang, the event reinforced her understanding of what powerful and successful women world leaders look like. 

“It serves as a role-model experience to come to this and see what it looks like to be really outstanding in your field,” she said. 

In her remarks, Clinton closed with a call-to-action for the Georgetown community members, State Department officials and diplomats, and women leaders in attendance. 

“As we celebrate these awardees and thank them for their courage, determination and faith in the power of women working together to build a better world, let’s recommit ourselves to do everything we can—right here in the United States—to make sure we never lose our freedoms and our democracy, our rights and opportunities.”