Deputy Principal Officer Dorothy Shea of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem hosted a ceremony in honor of Maysoon Al Qawasmeh, a nominee for the 2015 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage award. More than 100 guests attended the event at the Movenpick Hotel in Ramallah, including prominent civil society activists and leaders, and young alumni of USG exchange programs like Women in Science, Go Girls and the International Visitor Leadership Program.
The event, a day after International Women’s Day – and taking place during Women’s History Month in the United States – highlighted the important contributions of women in Palestinian society as agents of change. Ms. Qawasmeh, a project coordinator for the women and election project run by MIFTAH, is a prime example of one of those agents of change. Ms. Qawasmeh, who also serves as the head of the Wafa news agency in Hebron, is an ardent supporter of women’s rights and led the first women-only slate of candidates in Hebron municipal elections in 2012. Last year, she participated in an International Visitor Leadership Program trip to the United States focused on combating gender-based violence. Since her return, she has given presentations on this critical topic to dozens of young Palestinians who take part in the State Department’s Access English Microscholarship Program in the West Bank.
“Maysoon’s continuing work on behalf of Palestinian women made her an obvious nominee for the International Women of Courage award,” Ms. Shea said. “We from the American Consulate General in Jerusalem are honored to present her with a certificate marking her efforts to promote the status of women on political, social and economic fronts.”
Established in 2007, the annual Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award honors women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk. This is the only U.S. Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide.
Ms. Shea also used the occasion to announce the Consulate General’s plans to encourage a mentorship program between accomplished Palestinian professional women and young female leaders who represent the future of Palestinian society.
“I believe it is the responsibility of those of us who have found success in our careers to ‘pay it forward’ – to support up-and-coming women and help them go on to do great things,” Ms. Shea said.
A formal announcement of the program will take place in April.
For more information please contact the Consulate General Press Office at 02-622-6909 or Information Assistant Hassna Dajani at 054-6620257.