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.


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

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