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Major Pricilla Azevedo, Rio de Janeiro Military Police Force, Wins the 2012 International Women of Courage Award

Rio de Janeiro, March 9, 2012
2012 IWOC: Major Pricilla Azevedo with First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

2012 IWOC: Major Pricilla Azevedo with First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

The live transmission event at the U.S. Consulate-RJ.

Major Pricilla Azevedo, Rio de Janeiro Military Police Officer, was one of the ten winners of the 2012 International Women of Courage Award.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted the 2012 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony with special guest First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday, March 8. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and other U.S. and foreign dignitaries also participated. Special guests this year included Ms. Leymah Gbowee and Ms. Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The event was held at 11:00 a.m. EST (1:00 p.m. Brasilia time) in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of State.

The prestigious Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage annually recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored 46 women from 34 different countries.

Consul General Dennis W. Hearne and Consulate staff welcomed the family of Major Pricilla Azevedo, Mrs. Maria Emília de Oliveira Azevedo, her mother, and Ronei Rodrigues de Azevedo, her brother, to watch the ceremony in Washington live. Representatives of the Governor's office and State Secretariat of Security also attended the transmission at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro.

Following the awards ceremony, the International Women of Courage  traveled to 10 different U.S. cities to engage with their American counterparts through the International Visitor Leadership Program, including Bozeman, MT; Cincinnati, OH; East Lansing, MI; Indianapolis, IN; Jackson, WY; Kansas City, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Pensacola, FL; St. Louis, MO; Salt Lake City, UT; and Seattle, WA. Their visit to the U.S. began on March 5th with a stop in Pittsburgh.

The names of this year’s honorees follow and full biographies and photos are available here: http://www.state.gov/s/gwi/programs/iwoc/2012/bio/index.htm

  • The Honorable Maryam Durani, Kandahar Provincial Council Member (Afghanistan);
  • Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo, police officer, Rio de Janeiro Military Police (Brazil); Biography
  • Zin Mar Aung, political activist and NGO co-founder (Burma);
  • Jineth Bedoya Lima, investigative journalist (Colombia);
  • Hana Elhebshi, architect and political activist (Libya);
  • Aneesa Ahmed, gender-based violence (GBV) activist and former Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs (Maldives);
  • Shad Begum, human rights activist and founder/executive director of Anjuman Behbood-e-Khawateen Talah (the Union of Women’s Welfare) (Pakistan);
  • Samar Badawi, political activist (Saudi Arabia);
  • Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih, human rights activist (Sudan);
  • The Honorable Safak Pavey, Member of Parliament (Turkey)


The International Women of Courage Award Ceremony was opened to credentialed members of the media and livestreamed at www.state.gov.

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE AWARD:

Each year, since 2007, the U.S. State Department honors ten women from around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and advancement. The Awards Ceremony always takes place on March 8, International Women's Day.   

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