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Discursos 2010

Discurso pela Ocasião da Entrega do Premio Mulheres de Coragem

Good afternoon

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a genuine pleasure to be before you on this extraordinary day, and to have among us two especially honored guests for this ceremony.  First, we have Mr. Daniel Baer, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, who is visiting Mozambique for his first time in this capacity, and I am sure will join me in communicating how critical human rights are to progress for Mozambique. In addition, we have our national winner for the Secretary’s International Women of Courage Award, and to keep the suspense going a little longer, I will not yet tell you who the individual is . . .

Let me begin by telling you a few interesting points about Daniel Baer before inviting him to say a few words.  He was sworn in as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor on November 23, 2009.  He is responsible for the Office of Africa and Europe Affairs and the Office of International Labor and Corporate Social Responsibility in that Bureau.  Prior to joining the Department of State, Dr. Baer was an Assistant Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and a Faculty Fellow at the Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University.  He has worked at The Boston Consulting Group providing strategic advice to leaders in the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors, and holds doctoral and master’s degrees in international relations from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in social studies and African American studies.  Dr. Baer, we look forward to your remarks.

Thank you, Dr. Baer.

In 2007, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice established the annual International Women of Courage Award to recognize women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership.  It is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide, and offers a unique opportunity to recognize those who work in the field of international women's issues.  It has had strong support virtually every year from women leaders in the U.S., including this year from First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as, of course, our current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  Women from all over the world have been honored, and their accomplishments recognized, which I think we all know never happens enough. 

Fighting for women’s issues is a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, and a fight that we are still battling to win, even at home.  From the early days of independence, when the reality of eighteenth-century America did not allow women to vote, to our generation where women have all the same rights under the law, and have entered into the professional workplace in large numbers, women still must stand together to ensure their voices are heard.  The fact that I, an American woman, am speaking to you today as Ambassador is testimony to the efforts of generations of women before me.           

Secretary Clinton fifteen years ago famously declared that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”  Courageous women have changed the world, and perhaps it is because we have seen women overcome so much in our own country that we understand the courage that is still required in so many places to stand up for women’s rights and human rights, to make a difference, to protect those who are vulnerable and to advance the circle of opportunity and prosperity to more people.
And our honoree today is one of those women.  She has been a tireless champion of women’s economic, legal and civil rights.   Her organization has provided pro bono legal assistance to thousands of illiterate widows, helping them to secure their lawful property.  She has toured the country extensively, effectively using all kinds of media to teach women about their rights, to own land, to be free from domestic violence, to control their sexuality, to live free from HIV/AIDS, and others.  She has courageously spoken for the rights of prisoners, against police violence and mistreatment, in support of any individuals who experience discrimination.

For her vision and courage, and for fearlessly championing the rights of women, it is my pleasure and honor to announce that Dr. Alice Mabota is Mozambique’s national winner of the Secretary’s International Women of Courage Award for 2010.

I would like to invite Dr. Mabota to come forward to receive her award, and to address us briefly.

Thank you, Dr. Mabota.

Let me close with a message to our honoree, as well as the thousands of other courageous women whose stories may never be told.  We will be paying attention, listening for news of your successes and struggles, and will continue to be a partner and a supporter of your efforts all across the country. And we thank you for everything you are doing and will do. 

I hope all of you have, as I have, been inspired and challenged to do all you can to speak out for and defend human rights, and do our part.  As we enjoy the reception here tonight, let’s do so in honor of the women and men who are not with us, but who are fighting for the same cause. And I can promise that the United States will stand with them.

Thank you, and I look forward to meeting you through the course of the evening.  Please enjoy the reception that now follow