Brittany Somerset has the following piece in Impacto, covering our In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner from earlier this month.
On December 16, at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Pier in New York City, in recognition of their lifelong dedication to building peaceful, just and open societies in some of the world’s most conflict-affected regions, four dedicated women were awarded the Stephen J. Solarz Award for Commitment to Peace, Justice and Security, by the International Crisis Group at their annual award dinner.
The female honorees included Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey – Guatemala’s first female Attorney General, Sihem Bensedrine – President of the Arab Working Group of Media Monitoring, Shukri Ismail – founder of Somaliland-based non-governmental organization, Candlelight for Health, Education and Environment, and Sima Samar – Chairwoman of the Independent Afghanistan Human Rights Commission.
In addition to award-acceptance speeches by the four distinguished female award recipients, The United States’ most famous political power-couple, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, addressed the patrons with separate speeches. Wolf Blitzer, anchor of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” served as Master of Ceremonies. Grammy-award winning, angel-voiced musician, Sarah McLachlan, provided entertainment for the event, over dessert.
And Casey Coombs had the following write-up in the Diplomatic Courier:
The International Crisis Group’s (ICG) annual In Pursuit of Peace award dinner broke with convention this year in big ways. Rather than patting the backs of politically powerful men like George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George Soros, as in years past, the Stephen J. Solarz prize went to four comparatively unsung women, who have advocated for rights in some of the most forbidding parts of the world, where women, in many cases, cannot even participate in political life, let alone shape it.
ICG’s President and CEO Louise Arbour, together with the evening’s keynote speaker, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton - themselves models of what a feminine touch can bring to the male-dominated peacemaking table - used the occasion to honor their sisters-in-arms, dispel common myths about women in conflict, and announce a U.S.-U.N. policy to increase female participation in peacemaking processes.
“Very often women are depicted only as victims in times of war and conflict,” Ms. Arbour told the Diplomatic Courier as the honorees were arriving. “But I think what we can show tonight is also the rise of the power of women. Not because it’s handed to them, but because they’re willing to exercise it and take it themselves by taking a place in public life.”