Every day, women around the world are leading movements to create enduring, peaceful societies. It’s time to recognize the invaluable but often overlooked role that women play in ending and preventing conflict. USIP’s Women Building Peace Award honors the inspiring work of women peacebuilders whose courage, leadership, and commitment to peace stand out as beacons of strength and hope—women like Rita M. Lopidia of South Sudan, the recipient of the inaugural 2020 Women Building Peace Award.

USIP’s Women Building Peace Award represents the Institute’s commitment to highlighting the vital role of individual women who are working every day in the pursuit of peace in fragile or conflict-affected countries or regions. The award honors a woman peacebuilder whose substantial and practical contribution to peace is an inspiration and guiding light for future women peacebuilders. The award recipient will receive $10,000 to be used at the recipient’s discretion. She will be recognized at a ceremony organized by USIP in Washington, D.C.

Because this award aims to celebrate the often overlooked yet essential role that women play in peacebuilding, USIP strongly encourages nominations of individual women who have not been previously recognized for their work in peacebuilding.

The nomination process for the 2021 Women Building Peace Award closed on February 2, 2021. Finalists will be announced in summer 2021, and the sole recipient of the Women Building Peace Award will be announced and recognized at a ceremony organized by USIP in fall 2021.

Background

Over the past two decades, international organizations and the U.S. government have increasingly recognized the importance of gender equality in creating enduring, peaceful societies. Women’s sustained, meaningful participation in peace processes is vital to the overall success and longevity of peace agreements. When women are included in peace processes, the resulting peace agreement is 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years—and yet, from 1992–2019, women accounted for, on average, 6 percent of mediators and 6 percent of signatories in major peace process.

USIP has long been engaged in supporting women peacebuilders in countries affected by conflict—including civil society leaders and peace negotiators in Afghanistan, mediators in Colombia, advocates for gender equality in Pakistan, religious leaders across the Middle East advancing the rights of women and girls, and leaders of nonviolent movements around the globe.

The Women Building Peace Award both reflects the Institute’s comprehensive commitment to gender and peacebuilding and demonstrates the important role women play in peacebuilding efforts.

Eligibility Requirements

Before completing the nomination, please read the Guidance for Submitting Nominations document. This information provides useful instructions on the submission process and will help you determine if the nominee is eligible. The following eligibility requirements pertain to all nominees:

  • The nominee must be a woman of at least 18 years of age.
  • The nominee must be a non-U.S. citizen.
  • The nominee must be working to build peace in a fragile or conflict-affected country or region.
  • The nominee cannot be employed by USIP or have been affiliated with USIP as a contractor, grantee, fellow, or recipient of the Women Building Peace Award during the 24 months prior to the submission of this nomination application.

Selection Criteria

The selection of the award recipient will be chosen with the help of the Women Building Peace Council. The Council is a brain trust of distinguished experts and leaders who offer their guidance and support to USIP as we elevate the voices of women peacebuilders. Drawing upon their collective expertise in the fields of gender and peacebuilding, the Council’s core role is to help select the winner of the annual Women Building Peace Award.

Criteria for selecting the awardee:

  • Commitment to Peace: A woman whose work exemplifies a commitment to peace by preventing or resolving conflict nonviolently in a fragile or conflict-affected country or region.
  • Exceptional Leadership: A woman who exemplifies exceptional leadership through her vision and innovation and has earned the respect of her community in the pursuit of peace.
  • Outstanding Practitioner: A woman who engages as a peacebuilding practitioner in an inclusive and participatory manner with members of local, national, or international communities.
  • Substantial Impact: A woman whose peacebuilding work has led to tangible or demonstrable results.

Award FAQs

Who can submit nominations?
While all Women Building Peace Award nominees must be women, both men and women can act as nominators. Nominators should be familiar with the nominee’s peacebuilding work and be able to speak specifically to ways in which the nominee meets the selection criteria.

Can I nominate more than one person?
Yes. Nominators can nominate multiple individual women for the award. However, nominators are required to complete a separate nomination application for each nominee.

Does the woman I am nominating need to know I have nominated her?
Yes. Nomination applications should be completed in consultation with the nominee. Nominators should be certain that their nominee is willing and able to travel to the United States and speak publicly about her work.

Can more than one person nominate the same individual?
Yes. Multiple nominators can nominate the same woman for the award. However, this will not affect the selection process.

Can an individual be nominated posthumously?
No. The Women Building Peace Award does not accept posthumous nominations.

What is a fragile or conflict-affected country or region?
A fragile or conflict-affected country or region is a place where the social compact between people and the state is weak or absent and where violent conflict is ongoing or recently subsided.

What is peacebuilding?
Peacebuilding involves a transformation toward more manageable, peaceful relationships and governance structures. It is the long-term process of addressing root causes and effects, reconciling differences, normalizing relations, and building institutions that can manage conflict without resorting to violence.

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