Established in 2019, the Women Building Peace Award is given each year to a woman peacebuilder who has made a significant contribution in her country or region to end violence, and prevent, mitigate and resolve conflict. To date, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) has honored four women as award recipients and 28 women from 14 countries as finalists. These women have succeeded in building peace in some of the most difficult environments imaginable by forging alliances, resolving grievances, advocating for rights and protecting people from violence.

Nominations for the 2024 Award are now closed.

USIP will announce the 2024 award finalists in October and the 2024 award recipient in December. Follow USIP on social media for these announcements and information on the opening of nominations for the 2025 award.

Women Building Peace Award Finalists

About the Award

The Women Building Peace Award reflects the Institute’s comprehensive commitment to gender and peacebuilding and demonstrates the important role women play in peacebuilding efforts. The award honors a woman peacebuilder who has made a substantial contribution to the pursuit of peace and security in her community, region, or issue area.

USIP has long been engaged in supporting women peacebuilders in countries affected by conflict including:

  • Community educators and human rights activists addressing inter-personal and gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea;
  • Women mediators in Colombia;
  • Women-led organizations preventing violent extremism in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel;
  • Advocates for gender equality in Pakistan;
  • Religious leaders across the Middle East advancing the rights of women and girls;
  • Civil society leaders and peace negotiators in Afghanistan; and 
  • Leaders of nonviolent movements around the globe.

Additionally, USIP’s Women, Peace and Security Program serves as the secretariat for the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (U.S. CSWG), a non-partisan network of over 60 civil society organizations with expertise on the impacts of conflict on women and their participation in peacebuilding. Established in 2010, the working group is an engaged coalition that supports the effective implementation of the U.S. Women, Peace and Security Act (2017) and the advancement of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (UNSCR 1325).

Each year, USIP’s Women Building Peace Council reviews a shortlist of the top nominations and selects the annual finalists and award recipient. The Council is a brain trust of distinguished experts and leaders in the fields of gender and peacebuilding who offer their guidance and support to USIP as we elevate the voices of women peacebuilders.

USIP’s award is different from other prominent awards for women in two key ways: First, the Women Building Peace Award focuses on women in civil society who are working on the front lines of conflict. Second, the award recognizes women at the grassroots level who have not previously received global recognition for their peacebuilding efforts. USIP has honored peacebuilders from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, Kenya, and South Sudan as award recipients since establishing the award in 2019. USIP has recognized 24 women from 15 countries as finalists and four women as award recipients.

Read the stories of all award recipients and finalists here.

Nomination Eligibility Requirements

Nominees must meet all six requirements listed below to move forward in the award selection process. Self-nominations are not permitted.

  1. The nominee must be a living woman of at least 18 years of age. Posthumous nominations are not accepted.
  2. The nominee must be a non-U.S. citizen.
  3. The nominee must be working to build peace in a fragile or conflict-affected country or region. A fragile country or region is one at high risk for violent conflict.
  4. The nominee must be able and willing to travel to the United States, participate in a social media campaign, and speak publicly about her work.
  5. The nominee cannot be employed by USIP or have been affiliated with USIP as a contractor, grantee, or fellow during the 24 months prior to the submission of this nomination.
  6. The nominee cannot be a prior recipient of the Women Building Peace Award.

Award Selection Criteria

Commitment to Peace

The nominee shows a commitment to peace through her work to prevent or resolve conflict nonviolently. She has persisted in the face of profound barriers and personal risk. She inspires others through her personal courage.

Exceptional Leadership

The nominee demonstrates exceptional leadership through her vision, integrity, and collaboration, and has earned the respect of others in the pursuit of peace. She raises and legitimizes the views of marginalized communities. She is a catalyst for change.

Outstanding Practitioner

The nominee has a coherent focus on peacebuilding and grounds her work in practical experiences. She has adapted her peacebuilding work to changing conflict dynamics. She is exceptionally skilled and innovative in her use of the tools of peacebuilding. Her work serves as a model for others.

Substantial Impact

The nominee’s work has demonstrated significance in a conflict context of strategic importance and has led to tangible, quantifiable results. She has developed her peacebuilding efforts from local origins (grassroots, bottom-up).  Her efforts strengthen civil society and make a positive impact on community resilience, cultural norms and attitudes.

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.

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?
Only one nomination application will be accepted for each woman peacebuilder. If more than one nomination is received for a nominee, the first nomination submitted will be considered for the award.

Can I nominate myself for the award?
No. Self-nominations are not accepted. We encourage you to find a colleague or another individual who is willing to nominate you for the award.

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

What happens to a nomination application if the nominee does not meet the Eligibility Requirements for the award?
All nomination applications are reviewed to ensure that the nominee meets the Eligibility Requirements. If a nominee does not meet the Eligibility Requirements, the nomination application will not be accepted.

Will the nominee be notified once the nominator has submitted the nomination application?
No. It is the responsibility of the nominator to inform the woman peacebuilder that she was nominated for the award.

If the nominee is not chosen as a Finalist for the Women Building Peace Award, is she eligible to apply for another USIP grant or fellowship competition?
Yes. A nominee may apply for a USIP grant or fellowship opportunity. 

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.

If you have questions about the Women Building Peace Award, please email All email queries will receive a response within one business day.