Dress: Business attire
Each year, the Women’s Refugee Commission honors two refugee, internally displaced, asylum-seeking or resettled women or young people who are working on behalf of their peers. This year we will also be honoring a leader from the corporate world who has been a champion of women’s issues globally.
At the 2012 Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon, we will honor two women who are developing or leading programs that benefit displaced or asylum-seeking adolescent girls. Whether in their homes or in displaced communities, inequitable social norms make it particularly difficult for adolescent girls to realize their rights to education and decent work and to protect themselves from psychological and bodily harm. Many girls lack opportunities to build the self-confidence and negotiation skills they need to assert themselves and make critical decisions about their futures. They need social support, knowledge and resources to reduce their vulnerability to early and forced marriage, early pregnancy, exploitative work and physical and sexual assault.
In crisis and postcrisis settings, the risks to girls’ well-being, safety and personal development are even greater as their family and peer networks are often severely fragmented. Working with displaced adolescent girls to build their knowledge, resources, decision-making power and social connectedness can help them develop and protect themselves—setting a more positive course for their adult lives.
Dina Dublon is a pioneer in advancing women and promoting gender equity in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds. The first female CFO of JPMorgan Chase, she is now a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a member of the Board of Directors of Microsoft, PepsiCo, Accenture and the Global Fund for Women. Dina is also a trustee of Carnegie Mellon University and chair emerita of the Women’s Refugee Commission.
While working as a Red Cross volunteer, Olga Cantarero had to flee her native Nicaragua. She endured a harrowing journey through Mexico and across the border to Texas, fearing for her life at the hands of smugglers. She currently works at the International Emergency Shelter in Los Fresnos, Texas, with young people who faced persecution in their home countries or suffered similar trauma to hers during their own journeys to the United States.
The daughter of Eritrean parents, Rim Tekie Solomon grew up in a refugee camp in Sudan. She crossed the Sinai Desert on foot with her mother and six siblings to reach Israel, where she lived in a detention center and continued her education, learning Hebrew and becoming a translator. She currently works with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the African Refugee Development Center. Rim also volunteers with young African asylum-seeking women who are pregnant or new mothers.