The International DVF Award
Ariela Suster was born and raised in El Salvador during the Salvadoran Civil War. Ariela and her family experienced violence first-hand and it rocked Ariela to her core, but also lit in her a desire for change. She felt determined to one day influence the sequence of events that keep her country—and its people—in violence.
So after forging a name for herself in New York’s fashion industry, holding senior editorial positions at InStyle, Lucky and Harpers Bazaar, Ariela left the editorial world to follow her heart. She returned to El Salvador and was struck again with an urgent desire to positively influence her home country. She saw an opportunity to disrupt its story of violence by employing—and empowering—a group of at-risk youth to create beautiful, handcrafted products in their own community.
In 2011, Ariela founded Sequence, a collection of jewelry and accessories designed by Ariela and handcrafted by local artisans in Tepecoyo, an El Salvadorian neighborhood near Ariela’s hometown. The Sequence workshop has since become a second home to its employees, offering steady work, weekend art classes and a positive alternative to local gang culture.
An award-winning social entrepreneur who has developed a reputation as an expert in fields related to ethical fashion, social impact and women in business, Ariela has spoken at the United Nations, Yale University, NEXUS Global Youth Summit, and the Microsoft World Wide Partnership Conference. She recently received the Vital Voices Leadership Award for Economic Empowerment.
She is a CALI and Aspen Institute Fellow.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award
Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university's highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She thereafter served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she was an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. She then served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.
Photo credit: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.
The International DVF Award
When Jaha Dukureh was a week old, she survived female genital mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia. When she was 15 years old, she was forced into marriage with a man many years her senior, and sent to New York to be with her husband. On her wedding night, she was cut again to allow for the consummation of the marriage. The second procedure is common for women who have already undergone the most severe form of FGM.
Today, she fights against the practice, which the UN estimates affects 200 million girls and women globally. Jaha is the CEO and Founder of the NGO Safe Hands for Girls that provides support to African women and girls who are survivors of FGM and addresses its lifelong, harmful physical and psychological consequences. Alongside women’s organizations and civil society, she contributed to the Gambian Government’s ban on FGM after youth mobilization and campaigning in the country.
On February 6, 2018, in honor of The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, UN Women announced the appointment of Jaha as the Regional Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. In this role, she will dedicate her efforts to support UN Women’s advocacy to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in Africa, with a focus on mobilizing youth.
Jaha was also instrumental in advocating with President Obama’s administration to investigate the prevalence of FGM in the United States, and the subsequent Summit to End FGM on December 2, 2016 at the United States Institute of Peace.
Now a mother of three, Jaha works to ensure FGM and child marriages become horrors of the past.
The Inspiration DVF Award
Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in San Pedro, California, Misty Copeland began her ballet studies at the late age of thirteen. She went on to study at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive on full scholarship and was declared ABT's National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. Misty joined ABT's Studio Company in 2000, joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in 2001, and in 2007 became the company’s second African American female Soloist and the first in two decades. In 2015, Misty was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history. She made her Broadway debut in the role of “Ivy Smith/Miss Turnstiles” with the critically acclaimed show, On The Town.
In 2008, Misty was honored with the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts. Performing a variety of classical and contemporary roles, one of Misty’s most important roles was performing the title role in Firebird. In 2014, Misty debuted the lead role of “Clara” in American Ballet Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker. That same year, she made history as the first black woman to perform the lead role of “Odette/Odile” in American Ballet Theatre's Swan Lake during the company’s inaugural tour to Australia. Misty reprised the role during ABT’s Metropolitan Opera House spring season in 2015, as well as debuted as “Juliet” in Romeo & Juliet. During ABT’s spring season in 2017, Misty debuted the lead roles in Giselle and Don Quixote as “Kitri,” as well as Miss Praline in Alexei Ratmansky’s critically acclaimed Whipped Cream. And in November 2017, she debuted the role of “Aurora” in The Sleeping Beauty with The Australian Ballet in Sydney.
Misty has been featured in numerous publications and television programs, including CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Vogue, and Essence. She was honored with an induction into the Boys & Girls Club National Hall of Fame in 2012, named to the Time 100 List in 2015, and received the 2015 Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Award.
Misty is also dedicated to mentoring young girls and boys. She was named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2013. In 2014, President Obama appointed Misty to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. And in 2015, she traveled to Rwanda with MindLeaps to help launch its girls program and to establish The Misty Copeland Scholarship.
Misty is the author of two New York Times Bestsellers, Life in Motion and Ballerina Body. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford in 2014 for her contributions to classical ballet and helping to diversify the art form.
The People’s Voice DVF Award
Luma Mufleh is the CEO and Founding Director of Fugees Family, Inc., a nonprofit organization that uses the power of soccer, education and community to empower refugee children to successfully integrate into the United States. Luma is a 2016 Top 10 CNN Hero whose story has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, ESPN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Forbes and more.
The Fugees’ story began in 2004, when Luma took a wrong turn while driving through the town of Clarkston, Georgia and noticed a group of boys playing soccer in the street. She learned that these children were refugees from war-torn countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Burma, Somalia and Sudan. That summer, Luma made fliers announcing tryouts for the Fugees soccer team. In the years that followed, the soccer team grew into something much larger — a school, a tutoring program, a summer camp, a college prep program, and, most importantly, a community and support network. The Fugees were chronicled in the bestselling book “Outcasts United” by Warren St. John.
A lifelong social entrepreneur, Luma has created several programs and initiatives that have gainfully employed, educated and empowered refugees and immigrants in her community and beyond, with the Fugees Academy serving as a national model for refugee education. While only 20 percent of refugee students graduate from high school in Georgia’s DeKalb County, the Fugees Academy has a 90 percent graduation rate. These types of results helped earn Luma the 2016 Cournelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the Manhattan Institute.
A Jordanian immigrant and Muslim of Syrian descent, Luma received her U.S. citizenship in 2011. Her story – and the story of the Fugees – illustrates both the American dream and the very real challenges of integration and discrimination that so many face today.
Luma received her B.A. in Anthropology from Smith College and recently completed the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
People’s Voice Award
Louise Dubé is Executive Director of iCivics. Founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2010, iCivics is the largest and most successful civic education resource in the country, with a goal of energizing children to get involved in their communities and the government. This school year more than five million students in all 50 states used iCivics games and digital lessons to learn how our government and the law really work. iCivics is one of Fast Company’s 2017 Top 10 Most Innovative Education Companies, a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, and has received Common Sense Media's highest possible ranking. All of iCivics’ resources are free to teachers and parents.
Louise began her career as an attorney and holds a law degree from McGill University, as well as an MBA from Yale University. She has been recognized as a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur. Prior to iCivics, Louise had a successful career in EdTech.
Dr. Jane Goodall
Lifetime Leadership Award
Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London, England. From earliest childhood, she was fascinated by animals and the Africa she discovered in the storybooks of Tarzan and Dr. Doolittle. In 1957, she traveled to the Kenyan farm of a friend’s parents and met the famed anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey. In 1960, at his invitation, she began her landmark study of chimpanzee behavior in what is now Tanzania. Her field research at what was then called Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve—most notably, her discovery that chimpanzees make and use tools—revolutionized the world of primatology and redefined the relationship between humans and animals.
In 1977, Dr. Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to advance her vision and work around the world for generations to come. JGI continues the work at Gombe Stream Research Center and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It is widely recognized for building on Dr. Goodall’s groundbreaking community-centered approach to conservation and development programs in Africa, and for Roots & Shoots, the global environmental and humanitarian youth program. Dr. Goodall founded Roots & Shoots in 1991 with a group of Tanzanian students. The youth program connects more than 150,000 young people in nearly 100 countries, equipping them to take action to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment. Today, she travels an average 300 days per year, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, other environmental crises, and her reasons for hope. In her speeches and books, she emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things and the collective power of individual action, urging her audiences to recognize their personal responsibility and ability to effect change. “Every individual matters,” she says. “Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
Her eloquent ability to raise public awareness and understanding has become instrumental in her work to save chimpanzees from extinction. She is the author of numerous books that have engaged an international readership in her life with chimpanzees. Her life and work are the subject of numerous television documentaries, as well as the 2002 film Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees, and the 2010 documentary, Jane’s Journey. Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet has produced a number of features on Dr. Goodall, including Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe, Jane Goodall’s State of the Great Ape, When Animals Talk, Jane’s Goodall’s Heroes, and Almost Human.
Dr. Goodall is the recipient of many honors, including the Medal of Tanzania, the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal, Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the UNESCO 60th Anniversary Medal, and the Gandhi/King Award for Nonviolence. In April 2002, Secretary General Kofi Annan named Dr. Goodall a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In a 2004 ceremony at Buckingham Palace, she became a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In 2006, she received France’s highest recognition, the Legion of Honor.
Karlie Kloss is an American supermodel and entrepreneur. Raised in St. Louis, Karlie was discovered at a local charity fashion show at age 13. Since then, Karlie has walked for top designers including Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Versace, among others. She is currently the face of several campaigns including Carolina Herrera, Adidas, Versace and Swarovski, and in 2014, was named the global ambassador for L’Oreal Paris.
Outside of modeling, Karlie founded Kode With Klossy in 2015 to engage, empower, and prepare women and girls to learn code, while expanding access to coding education and opportunities. This summer, Kode With Klossy launched a summer camp for young women ages 13 to 18 in New York, Los Angeles, and St. Louis, as well as a career scholarship for women ready to jumpstart their careers in code.
Karlie has also partnered with Momofuku Milk Bar on a vegan and gluten-free cookie line known as Klossies. Benefiting FEED and the CFDA, sales from Klossies have provided over one million meals to those in need. TIME magazine recognized Karlie for her entrepreneurship and philanthropic work on their 2016 TIME 100 list. To share each of these experiences with her millennial audience, Karlie recently launched her YouTube channel, Klossy.
Yoani Sánchez is Founder & Director of 14ymedio. She is a blogger, journalist and voice for change, pioneering a movement to establish a free press in Cuba. Yoani has been called a counterrevolutionary with dangerous, extreme views. Her blog about daily life in Cuba has generated controversy and a global following, and her latest project pushes the boundaries of what’s possible: she launched 14ymedio, the first and only independent digital news outlet in Cuba.
Yoani has been kidnapped, arrested, and beaten for her work. But she is not deterred; she says the government wouldn’t react if they weren’t fearful that she’s tapped into popular demand for freedom of expression. Yoani is redefining journalism in a country that has only known state-controlled media. For the first time, news is based on facts, not propaganda. Her courageous journalism transcends Cuba, offering an alternative way to view the Cuban reality – through the eyes of its people.
Baljeet Sandhu is the Founding Director of the Migrant & Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU)* a specialist legal, policy and education hub protecting and promoting the rights of young people displaced by war, fleeing abuse and violence and trafficked for the purposes of exploitation and slavery.
Baljeet is recognized as one of the UK’s leading experts on children’s rights in the field of asylum and immigration law. She believes that the law can be used as an effective tool to create positive social change and achieve social justice. As a legal entrepreneur she has pioneered innovation in the legal sector by testing out new models of legal services for young people whilst spearheading access to justice and legal education strategies within the wider social sector. In 2011, Baljeet was awarded Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year, and in 2014, she was appointed as a UK Clore Social Leadership Fellow.
The International Award
Agnes Igoye is the Director of Pallisa Based Community Development Initiative (PACBADI), a non-profit organization seeking to end human trafficking in Uganda. Using her grant from the DVF Awards, Agnes and PACBADI are building a center for human-trafficking survivors. Prior to undertaking a Public Service Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School eight months ago, Agnes served as deputy national coordinator of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and the training manager at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control for Uganda’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. Agnes hopes to utilize her Fellowship to improve her government’s capacity to fight human trafficking in Uganda.
A member of the Clinton Global Initiative, Agnes speaks all over the world in an effort to raise awareness around human trafficking. She also works to rehabilitate survivors and train law enforcement. Agnes is the founder of The Huts for Peace Program, a community driven self-help initiative for women displaced, tortured, and subjected to gender-based violence by the LRA who are now rebuilding their communities using local materials.
The Inspiration Award
Sarah Jones is a Tony® and Obie Award-winning playwright and performer. Called “a master of the genre” by The New York Times, Sarah is known for her multi-character, one-person shows including the critically acclaimed Broadway hit Bridge & Tunnel, originally produced by Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, and her most recent show Sell/Buy/Date which explores the real-life experiences of women affected by the sex industry. Sarah is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and long-standing advocate for the empowerment of women and girls, working with organizations such as Equality Now, the Novo Foundation, the New York Women’s Foundation, and the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, where she is an honorary chairperson.
The People's Voice Award
Emily Greener is Co-Founder of I AM THAT GIRL. With over 175 local chapters and an online community of 700,000+, I AM THAT GIRL empowers, supports and educates an engaged and growing community of girls from across the globe to love and express themselves through online and offline programs and initiatives. Their programs address the emotional, mental and physical well-being of girls with the goal of shifting culture, ultimately raising the standards for how girls treat each other, themselves, and the world.
The International Award
Maria Pacheco is co-founder of Wakami, a business dedicated to developing products and services that generate hope, income and prosperity for rural communities. Currently, under the Wakami brand, hand-made fashion accessories produced by over 450 Guatemalan women are being exported to over 20 countries. She has also partnered with the UN Foundation, UNDP, the private sector, and others to implement her methodology. Most recently, Maria has employed the DVF Award grant to build up the Wakami Villages Program; a social program partially funded by beneficiaries within Wakami that employs a four-pronged approach to community development, focusing on education, healthy homes, access to business opportunities, and overall community betterment.
Dr. Martine Rothblatt
The Lifetime Leadership Award
Martine Rothblatt is Chairman & Co-CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation (UTHR), and President & CEO of its Lung Biotechnology public benefit company. She previously created and led Sirius XM as its Chairman & CEO. She holds both JD and MBA degrees from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Medical Ethics from the Royal London School of Medicine & Dentistry. Her patented inventions cover aspects of satellite radio, prostacyclin biochemistry and cognitive software. She is also in the forefront of creating an unlimited supply of transplantable organs and medicines for rare diseases. This technology has the potential to eliminate all waitlists for organ transplantation. Martine believes that women’s empowerment is an essential, if not sufficient, basis for socio-economic development. When women’s talents shine, the entire environment around us brightens. As nurturers of life, either biologically or by gender affinity, women translate the potential of humanity into its best realization.
The Lifetime Leadership Award
Melanne Verveer is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. She most recently served as the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, a position to which she was nominated by President Obama in 2009. She coordinated foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women. She worked to ensure that women’s participation and rights are fully integrated into U.S. foreign policy, and she played a leadership role in the Administration’s development of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. President Obama also appointed her to serve as the U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
From 2000-2008, she was the Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international NGO that she co-founded to invest in emerging women leaders. During the Clinton administration, she served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady. She also led the effort to establish the President’s Interagency Council on Women, and was instrumental in the adoption of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. She is the co-author of Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose (2015).
Samar Minallah Khan
The International Award
Samar Minallah Khan, a Pakistani Pashtun documentary filmmaker, journalist, human rights activist, and anthropologist uses advocacy, documentaries, and other forms of media to open the eyes of civil society, policymakers, and human rights activists to culturally-sanctioned forms of violence. In 2003, Samar created a documentary on Swara, to raise awareness around the horrific practice of compensation marriage in Pakistan and to move policy makers to abolish it. Thanks in part to Samar’s film, swara was made illegal in 2004. Through her media initiative, Ethnomedia, Samar continues to shed light on issues of human trafficking, dowry and acid crimes, child domestic labor and forced marriage. To date, she has reached more than 150,000 people through her work. In 2016, Samar was appointed as one of the ten Child Rights Commissioners in Pakistan, a committee presided over by the President of Pakistan.
The International Award
Globally minded, yet rooted in her community, visionary entrepreneur Adimaimalaga (Adi) Tafuna'i works to build sustainable economic opportunities for Samoan women and families. Adi is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Women in Business Development Inc. (WIBDI), which encourages women to take on business roles, with a focus on village-based economic development. Determined to enable women to earn an income in their local community in order to educate, feed and care for their families, Adi worked to leverage local resources to connect Samoan women with global markets. In 2008, Adi negotiated a contract with The Body Shop to buy organically certified virgin coconut oil from Samoa. Since then, WIBDI has expanded its scope to run projects in five other Pacific Islands countries. With the support of the DVF Award grant funds, WIBDI’s 2016 project in the Solomon Islands enabled 2,000 people to secure stronger livelihoods. Adi also sits on the Global Agenda Council for New Growth Models for the World Economic Forum.
Becky Straw & Jody Landers
The People's Voice Award
Focusing on the environment, health, hunger and water, Becky Straw and Jody Landers created The Adventure Project. This non-profit works with local organizations to empower people with the tools and education to become profitable entrepreneurs, so they can go on to serve their own communities and improve local economies.
The Adventure Project believes that people want the opportunity to thrive, not with a handout, but through dignified work. In just six years, the organization has employed over 1,000 entrepreneurs in India, Haiti, Kenya, and Uganda, which include well mechanics, healthcare workers, farmers and stove masons. Together, these entrepreneurs serve over one million people each day.
Last November, The Adventure Project launched a new goal of moving a million people out of poverty by 2030.
The Inspiration Award
For more than 15 years, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has dedicated herself to public service. As the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, she represented her community in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005, and then in Congress from 2006-2012. Her success was credited to her reliance on kindness, candor and hard, grueling work. On January 8, 2011, at a “Congress On Your Corner” event in Tucson with her constituents, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head from near point-blank range. In stepping down from Congress in January 2012, Congresswoman Giffords said, “I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.” In 2013, Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions as a way to encourage elected officials to stand up for safer communities.
Kah Walla is an entrepreneur, activist and political leader from Cameroon. Throughout her career, she has focused on good governance, the rights of women and youth, and the rule of law. She is the CEO of STRATEGIES!, a leadership and management firm she founded more than 20 years ago. She is the current president of the Cameroon People’s Party (CPP), which she joined in 2010. In 2011, she became the first woman to ever run for the presidential election in Cameroon. She is a social activist, and founder of Cameroon Ô’Bosso, a citizenship movement to help the grassroots organize to defend its interests. In 2016, Kah’s political party, two other Cameroonian political parties, and one NGO launched the Stand Up for Cameroon initiative, a platform to demand basic services for Cameroonians and call for a peaceful political transition. Through this initiative, Kah is challenging the status quo in her country. Last year, Stand Up for Cameroon launched a successful campaign to stop the modification of the Cameroonian constitution which would have allowed for early presidential elections.
Through her DVF Award grant funds, Kah traveled to parts of Cameroon to work with and bring awareness to girls who have been affected by Boko Haram. She also worked to create a documentary film about human trafficking in Cameroon.
The Inspiration Award
Alicia Keys is a 15-time Grammy® Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer, an accomplished actress, a New York Times best-selling author, an entrepreneur and a powerful force in the world of philanthropy and in the global fight against HIV and AIDS. Her message of love, hope and freedom inspires and resonates around the world. Keys’ multi-cultural background and multi-genre music make her the perfect face and sound of the new century. As Keys reminds us, we are all connected in this Internet/global village era, so it is crucial to love and respect everyone. Not only is she one of New York’s most popular ambassadors, but she is also a strong and powerful public voice for women everywhere.
The co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS, she is a global activist who has been involved in that fight for over 12 years. In 2014, Alicia co-founded the We Are Here Movement to engage and educate her audience about the many issues that together prevent equality and justice across our world.
The People's Voice Award
Veronika Scott is CEO and Founder of The Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based nonprofit organization focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycle of homelessness. What started as a simple idea— to design a self-heated, weather-resistant coat that transforms into a sleeping bag for the homeless population—has evolved into a system of empowerment in which single parents from local shelters are paid to produce the coats, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and regain their independence.
Veronika is the youngest recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award from the JFK Library Foundation and Harvard University. She has received an IDEA Gold Award from the Industrial Design Society of America and has an honorary PhD of Humane Letters from Johnson State College. Veronika has been named one of CNN’s Ten Visionary Women in the World and is the winner of the 2014 DVF People’s Voice Award. She has also been named a 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur, and a 2016 CNN Hero.
Since 2012, The Empowerment Plan has employed 39 formerly homeless individuals and distributed more than 20,000 coats across the globe. But their lasting impact lies within those they employ. Through their unique approach to workforce development, The Empowerment Plan is creating a viable workforce from a population that is many times overlooked. In addition to growing their employment model, The Empowerment Plan will launch a retail line that will directly fund the operations of the nonprofit organization so that they can shift away from depending fully on philanthropic funding and work to exist as a true social enterprise with lasting impact in Detroit and beyond.
The Lifetime Leadership Award
Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. An organizer and frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality, she is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice.
Ms. Steinem graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1956, then spent two years in India on a Chester Bowles Fellowship. She wrote for Indian publications, and was influenced by Gandhian activism.
In 1972, Ms. Steinem co-founded Ms. magazine. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms., and was instrumental in the magazine’s move to be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation. She also helped to found New York magazine in 1968, and has written numerous bestselling books.
Ms. Steinem helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance and the National Women’s Political Caucus. She was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice, and was co-founder and serves on the board of Choice USA. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, and was a founder of its Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Now, she is working with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College to document the grassroots origins of the U.S. women’s movement.
In 1993, she co-produced and narrated an Emmy Award winning TV documentary for HBO, “Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories.” With Rosilyn Heller, she also co-produced an original TV movie for Lifetime, “Better Off Dead,” which examined the parallel forces that both oppose abortion and support the death penalty.
In 1993, Ms. Steinem was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. She is currently working on a book about her more than 30 years on the road as a feminist organizer, due out in 2015.
Liron Peleg-Hadomi & Noha Khatieb
Noha and Liron met in 2007 when both traveled to Northern Ireland as part of a Vital Voices delegation to bring Palestinians and Jews together to learn from peace builders there and bring solutions home. They instantly bonded on a personal level and returned to Israel inspired to create dialogue and to build a new culture of tolerance and peace together.
In 2010, Liron and Noha became the local coordinators for a new extension of the Vital Voices Peace and Prosperity program for young women within Israel. Building on the success of this program, in 2015 they launched the Learn Engage Advocate and Dialogue Program (LEAD) with the support of the DVF Award grant funds. Through LEAD, they brought together young women leaders across the conflict divide to promote social change in Israel. LEAD Fellow created their own social impact projects to promote peace and reconciliation in their communities.
Andeisha Farid acts as an integral part of her country’s efforts to rebuild, educating the next generation of leaders who will lead their nation forward. In 2007, she founded a new nonprofit, the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO). Today, AFCECO provides housing, healthcare, education and safety to 450 children of diverse ethnicities across orphanages in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With the use of her DVF Award grant, Andeisha and AFCECO were able to successfully administer healthcare to 350 of the orphanages’ children across three provinces. In addition to providing children a safe and nurturing environment, Andeisha’s AFCECO instills important leadership values of tolerance and an appreciation for education in Afghanistan’s future generations.
Dr. Sunitha Krishnan
Dr. Sunitha Krishnan is an Indian social activist and the founder of Prajwala, a non-government organization that rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates victims of sex trafficking back into society. As a victim of sexual violence herself, Sunitha Krishnan brings a level of understanding and empathy to her work that is invaluable. She knows that prevention is more effective than any cure and so has built a network of eighteen transition centers in the state of Andhra Pradesh to educate and protect vulnerable children in poor localities. The first transition center was started in the year 1996 with just 5 children, and today, in 2017, the transition centers and the drop in centers together have directly served over 25,000 women, boys and girls. Remarkably, 14,000 of those individuals have been successfully rehabilitated from sex trafficking, and another 8,500 women and children were prevented from being prostituted. Acknowledging that sexual violence is a community issue, Prajwala has also sensitized thousands of law enforcement and judiciary members to implement a victim-centered approach to combat the scourge of sexual violence.
Natalia Vodianova is founder and president of the The Naked Heart Foundation, a charity organization that strives to help build an inclusive society that is open to people with disabilities and special needs, through play and the creation of free support services for disadvantaged families. Through their Every Child Deserves a Family program, they organize international forums, work to fund Russian NGO’s that help vulnerable families, and lobby to change Russian legislation to be brought into line with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Through their Play With Purpose program, the Foundation has built more than 158 parks and playgrounds across Russia, including at a number of orphanages and children’s hospitals.
Lifetime Leadership Award
Ms. Roberts is the anchor of NBC’s Good Morning America. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2007. Her courageous and public battle has been recognized with awards and honors from organizations around the country. In June 2012, she was diagnosed with MDS or myelodsyplastic syndrome, a disease of the blood and bone marrow once known as pre-leukemia. Ms. Roberts made a triumphant return to her anchor desk on February 20, 2013 and received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2013 EPSYs. She is a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and currently resides in New York City.
People’s Voice Award
Tammy Tibbetts is the Founder and CEO of She's the First, a nonprofit organization that invests in the education of girls in low-income countries, so that they can be the first in their families to graduate from high school. Across the globe, She’s the First is building a movement for quality, equal education through campus chapters and crowd fundraisers.
"The DVF People's Voice Award was such a tipping point for She's the First,” says Tammy. “We've had year-over-year growth ever since 2013. The DVF Award attracted so many other new opportunities, including partnerships with national magazines like Glamour and Marie Claire, the support of distinguished women like Ann Tisch and Jane Wurwand, speaking invitations, and more momentum for our grassroots movement. Above all, it gave me the confidence to grow as a leader; when Diane believes in you, you have to believe in yourself, even as new challenges present themselves."
To date, She’s The First has raised nearly $4 million. They have grown to more than 800 She’s The First scholars, 180 of which have already graduated high school. Every She’s The First Scholar creates a ripple effect, as she shares her education with her family and becomes active in her community, helping and inspiring others.
ChouChou Namegabe is a pioneering, fearless voice for justice and accountability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2003, she founded the South Kivu’s Association of Women Journalists (“Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud Kivu” or “AFEM”), and just two years later she assumed leadership of the Association as its president. Through AFEM, ChouChou shines a light on women’s issues, especially in rural areas, by broadcasting rape victims’ testimonials and other news to a society where the injustice and violence of the recent past are often denied. To date, AFEM has trained more than 100 girls to become journalists, worked to change laws discriminating against women in the DRC, created its own radio station, and raised the voices of countless survivors of rape and sexual violence.
People’s Voice Award
Layli Miller-Muro is the founder and CEO of the Tahirih Justice Center, a national multi-city nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting women and girls from human rights abuses through the provision of legal aid and public policy advocacy. Since 1997, The Tahirih Justice Center has served more then 21,000 individuals fleeing violence. Having just opened a West Coast office, their innovative model of support is now delivered from four cities with a commitment to serve as many immigrant women and girls as possible. “Being recognized by the DVF Award,” says Layli, “has helped to elevate the hidden issues suffered by immigrant women and girls fleeing violence and has helped to catapult Tahirih, since we received the award, to being the largest multi-city organization in the U.S. providing legal defense for women and girls fleeing human rights abuses.”
Panmela Castro– also known as Anarkia – is one of the best known grafiteiras in Rio. As a survivor of domestic violence, she decided to raise awareness of the first federal law that affirmed every woman’s right to live free of domestic violence. In order to raise women’s awareness of this law, as a young multi-media artist, she harnessed the power of street art to promote social change and raise awareness about women’s rights. She has successfully created and implemented a number of programs, including Rede Nami, to promote women’s empowerment through art and continues to expand her organizational infrastructure and the Brazilian network of grafiteras who are committed to promoting women’s rights.
Since receiving the DVF Award in 2012, Panmela’s graffiti workshops and exhibitions have transcended the borders of her home country, with 5,000 meters of artwork debuting in New York City, across Brazil and around the world.
Lifetime Leadership Award
Through the power of media, Oprah Winfrey has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world. As supervising producer and host of the top-rated, award-winning “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she entertained, enlightened and uplifted millions of viewers for 25 years. Her accomplishments as a global media leader and philanthropist have established her as one of the most respected and admired public figures today.
As a little girl, Jaycee Dugard was held captive for 18 years. Following her experience, Jaycee Lee Dugard had a vision of providing, supporting and ensuring the timely treatment of families that are recovering from abduction and the aftermath of other traumatic experiences. From that vision The JAYC Foundation was created. The JAYC Foundation works to serve affected families and to provide “Protected Spaces” for them to heal. Jaycee is also the author of the best-selling memoir, "A Stolen Life.”
People’s Voice Award
Taryn Davis is the Founder and Executive Director of The American Widow Project. After losing her own husband in Iraq in 2007, Taryn made it her mission to create a place where other military widows could come together to share stories and heal. The American Widow Project is dedicated to recognizing the sacrifices made by the families of our fallen soldiers and believes that no military widow should feel alone in her grief. The American Widow Project provides the vital peer-to-peer, emotional, and educational support necessary to maximize success, healing and hope for a brighter future.
Sohini Chakraborty is a dancer, choreographer and sociologist. In 2004, she created Kolkata Sanved, harnessing the power of dance and dance movement therapy to heal, empower and transform victims of violence and sex trafficking into active citizens and change makers. Since its founding, Kolkata Sanved had directly assisted 5,000 abused women – including 2,500 former child prostitutes in India – and the dance-therapy program has been adopted by 40 organizations to help victims of sexual violence. Kolkata Sanved also works to intercept young people at risk and to help rural families who might otherwise fall prey to traffickers. Recognized for her fresh approach to the existing rehabilitation and reintegration programs, Sohini has expanded her reach to work with new populations, including people living with mental illness, domestic workers, survivors of domestic violence, women and children affected by and living with HIV/AIDS, school children, and children in slums and red-light areas. To date, Kolkata Sanved has served 65,000 people through its programming and services.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lifetime Leadership Award
Hillary Clinton has served as secretary of state, advocate, attorney, First Lady, and Senator. Throughout her longstanding pioneer in politics, Clinton has always made women’s issues a primary focus throughout her storied career. In her travels, Clinton has made it a point to meet with local female leaders to assess the issues of that region. With a unilateral vision of “smart power,” which fosters cross-cultural relationships and understanding, the Secretary oversaw the International Fund for Women and Girls and launched the 100 Women Initiative. This inventive program brings the brightest female minds from around the world together to engage in international exchanges. Clinton also helped to launch the Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development, a program which seeks prevention and treatment for pregnant women and newborns in rural, low-resource settings.
As a Senator, Clinton worked across party lines to build support for causes important to her constituents and the country, including the expansion of economic opportunity and access to quality, affordable health care. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, she was a strong advocate for funding the rebuilding of New York and the health concerns of the first responders who risked their lives working at Ground Zero. She also championed the cause of our nation’s military and fought for better health care and benefits for wounded service members, veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves. She was also the only Senate member of the Transformation Advisory Group to the Department of Defense’s Joint Forces Command. In 2006, Senator Clinton won reelection to the Senate, and in 2007 she began her historic campaign for President. In 2008, she campaigned for the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and in November, she was nominated by President-elect Obama to be Secretary of State.
In April of 2015, Clinton announced her second campaign for President. Despite winning the popular vote, she was defeated in November 2016, and in her concession speech she vowed, “I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”
Elizabeth Smart is now an advocate for change related to child abduction and the Founder of The Elizabeth Smart Foundation. She has helped promote The National AMBER Alert, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act and other safety legislation to help prevent abductions. Elizabeth has also worked with the Department of Justice and four other recovered young adults in creating a survivors guide, entitled “You're Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment,” to encourage children who have gone through similar experiences to not give up and know that there is life after tragic events.
Kakenya Ntaiya is a Kenyan educator, feminist and social activist. She is the founder and president of the Kakenya Center for Excellence which seeks to empower and motivate young girls through education to become agents of change and to break the cycle of destructive cultural practices in Kenya, such as female genital mutilation and early forced marriage. Since the opening of the Kakenya Center in 2009, there have been striking changes in the students and the community. In 2014, the first class of girls graduated from the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Kakenya’s organization, to date, has educated and mentored nearly 9,000 boys and girls in rural Kenya.
Danielle Saint Lôt
Danielle Saint Lôt is founder and president of the Danielle Saint-Lôt Haiti Women’s Foundation, a U.S.-based 501c3 organization, which advances programs to empower Haitian women, advocate for the missing middle, and grow the creative economy. The foundation’s signature project, a one-year Haitian Women’s Business Academy, has trained and prepared 25 women entrepreneurs for the global marketplace. Danielle also serves as Ambassador at Large of the Republic of Haiti for Women’s Empowerment. Danielle is also the former executive director of Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its former Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. She co-founded Haiti’s Femmes en Démocratie in 1998, one of the oldest and strongest Vital Voices affiliates in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
Sadiqa Basiri Saleem
Sadiqa Basiri Saleem is an activist fighting for the education of girls in Afghanistan. After the Taliban shut down her Afghan-run school, Sadiqa founded the Oruj Learning Center, which provides uniforms, supplies, and funding for girls to study. Started as a school for 36 girls in an abandoned mosque, the Center now educates over 4,600 girls in six schools and more than 200 women at four literacy centers. Recognizing the growing need for women’s access to higher education, in 2009, Sadiqa established the Oruj Leadership and Management Institute (OLMI), the first women’s community college in Afghanistan. Over 134 young women have graduated from OLMI and 94% of graduates have received employment in Kabul. In 2011, Sadiqa established the Oruj Institute of Higher Education, Afghanistan’s first all-female four-year university. Sadiqa has also created the Family Welfare Center for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a domestic violence prevention project that provides services to 14,000 Afghan women, trains government staff on domestic violence and encourages spiritual leaders to discuss women’s issues constructively.
Lifetime Leadership Award
Ingrid Betancourt, is a Franco-Colombian female politician, former senator and anti-corruption activist. She is behind the creation of the Ingrid Bétancourt Foundation, whose purpose is to engage in the Defense of Freedom in places where freedom is in danger and for those who have lost their freedom as victims of criminal hands.
People’s Voice Award
Katherine Chon was recognized for her work as co-founder of Polaris Project, one of the leading anti-trafficking organizations combating modern slavery in the United States and Asia. With programs operating at international, national and local levels, Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Their comprehensive model puts victims at the center, helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims and leveraging date and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.