The U.S. Secretary of State's 2022 International Women of Courage (IWOC) award honors women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment — often at great personal risk and sacrifice. Among this year’s awardees are Josefina Klinger Zúñiga and Rizwana Hasan, who have worked tirelessly to combat the climate crisis, promote environmental protection, and elevate the unique ways women and girls are impacted by the destruction of the environment.

Josefina Klinger Zúñiga works as a human rights and environmental defender and founded Mano Cambiada (“Changed Hand”) in Colombia to produce sustainable incomes and advance the rights of her community by training leaders on environmental resource management. Rizwana Hasan is a lawyer who has fought environmental and human exploitation in Bangladesh through the courts using a people-centered focus on environmental justice. 

On March 31 USIP hosted Josefina Klinger Zúñiga and Rizwana Hasan for a discussion on the strategies they use to take on the systems and actors who degrade and destroy the environment and how their people-centered approach helps protect the rights of individuals, communities and the environment. 

Follow the conversation on Twitter with #WomenofCourage and #IWOC2022.

Speakers

Kamissa Camara, moderator
Senior Visiting Expert on the Sahel, U.S. Institute of Peace

Josefina Klinger Zúñiga
Founder and Director, Mano Cambiada; 2022 International Women of Courage Awardee

Rizwana Hasan
Attorney and Environmentalist; 2022 International Women of Courage Awardee

Tegan Blaine, closing summary
Director, Climate, Environment and Conflict, U.S. Institute of Peace

Katrina Fotovat, closing remarks
Senior Official, Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. State Department

Related Publications

Can the Taliban’s Brazen Assault on Afghan Women Be Stopped?

Can the Taliban’s Brazen Assault on Afghan Women Be Stopped?

Thursday, January 12, 2023

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Kate Bateman;  Andrew Watkins;  Scott Worden

The Taliban marked the New Year by doubling down on their severe, ever-growing restrictions on women’s rights. On December 20, they banned women from all universities — adding to their prior ban on girls attending middle and high school. Then the Taliban announced on December 24 that women cannot work for NGOs, including humanitarian organizations that are providing vital food and basic health services to the population that is now projected at 90 percent below the poverty rate. Western and regional governments have responded with uncommonly unified outrage and many humanitarian organizations have suspended their operations until women are allowed to return to their jobs.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderHuman Rights

The Latest @ USIP: Women’s Role in the South Sudan Peace Process

The Latest @ USIP: Women’s Role in the South Sudan Peace Process

Monday, January 9, 2023

By: Rita Lopidia

When South Sudan achieved independence in 2011, many South Sudanese women hoped it would lead to improvements on gender and security issues. In the years since, recurring civil conflict has unfortunately delayed these aspirations — but as with the independence movement, women have been at the forefront of the country’s resurgent peace process. Rita Lopidia, executive director of the Eve Organization for Women Development and the 2020 recipient of USIP’s Women Building Peace Award, discusses how South Sudan’s national action plan on women, peace and security helped guide women’s involvement in the revitalized peace agreement as well as how her organization is working with both men and women on gender and peacebuilding issues.

Type: Blog

GenderPeace Processes

The Role of Women in Myanmar’s Evolving Security Institutions

The Role of Women in Myanmar’s Evolving Security Institutions

Thursday, December 15, 2022

By: Hkawn Htoi;  Gabriela Sagun

Myanmar’s women have assumed an unprecedented leadership role in the pro-democracy resistance since the 2021 coup. From nonviolent protest movements to fighting in People’s Defense Forces (PDF) to the National Unity Government (NUG), women have been instrumental in the fight against the ruling junta’s brutality and oppression. But as Myanmar’s network of resistance groups slowly weakens the junta’s grip, resistance leaders are now faced with a daunting task: How do you re-establish security and stability in a country long plagued by civil conflict?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGenderJustice, Security & Rule of Law

View All Publications