"As long as violence against women, sexual or otherwise, remains strictly and exclusively a women’s issue, it will always be an issue. We men must own this and we must recognize it as vital to our own survival. And we must help our brothers see it as such."

- Ben Affleck, 2009 Presenter

"An event like this can really make a difference. I have seen it in the faces of those women who know that they're not laboring in vain. I've seen it in the networks that have been created to support them. And I've seen it in the changed attitudes of governments and leaders."

- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

"In honoring me, you are honoring the 700,000 women who are standing behind me. You may not see them, but they are here in spirit — their stories, their struggles and their triumphs echo throughout this hall."

- Jaya Arunachalam, 2005 Honoree

"It is an award to recognize the full human rights of our girls and of our women, but most of all, it is a reminder of the remaining task for equality, development and peace in our respective nations."

- Mu Sochua, 2005 Honoree

"This award, you must know, is going to protect my life...No one can silence me because I have new friends — you are my friends — and you are watching over me."

- Anabella de Leon, 2003 Honoree

Global Leadership Awards

THANK YOU for joining us to honor and celebrate courageous women leading change around the world.

Experience the event through our multimedia Exposure Gallery

Check out our social media coverage on Storify and our Photo Gallery.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the 13th annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on June 17, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Clinton, who founded Vital Voices Global Partnership in 1997, has participated in the event every year since 2002.

The Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards honor and celebrate women leaders around the world working to strengthen democracy, increase economic opportunity and protect human rights. Honorees this year include women from Syria, Iraq, Tanzania, India and Guatemala. This year’s presenters included, among others, CBS News anchor Norah O'Donnell and fashion designer and activist Diane von Furstenberg. 

Past honorees and presenters have included Oscar winner Sally Field, Angelina Jolie, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ben Affleck, Reese Witherspoon and Malala Yousafzai. 

2014 Honorees







Dr. Victoria Kisyombe|Tanzania

Economic Empowerment Award

An entrepreneur who redesigned the traditional model of micro-finance to better serve Tanzanian women.







Priti Patkar|India

Human Rights Award

A social worker who pioneered night shelters for the at-risk children of prostituted women in India.







Claudia Paz y Paz|Guatemala

Leadership in Public Life Award

The first female attorney general in Guatemala, she strove to restore faith in justice by combatting a culture of impunity








Suaad Allami|Iraq

Fern Holland Award

A lawyer who created one of Iraq's first legal clinics to support impoverished women and survivors of violence.







Razan Zaitouneh|Syria

Global Trailblazer Award

A Syrian lawyer and human rights activist who advocated nonviolent resistance before she was abducted for reporting on abuses and crimes of war.



Check out the Storify and watch tribute videos of the honorees.

More about the awards:

The Economic Empowerment Award recognizes an innovative leader who finds solutions to expand economic opportunities, relieve poverty, or increase the financial inclusion of marginalized communities.

The Human Rights Award honors a leader who takes action to protect and restore the rights, safety, and dignity of all people, especially women and girls who have been exploited by gender-based violence.

The Leadership in Public Life Award recognizes a leader in government or civil society who speaks out for and advances freedom, justice, and equality.

Since 2004, the Fern Holland Award has been given annually in tribute to the legacy of American lawyer and human rights activist Fern Holland, who was killed while working for women’s rights in Iraq. The award honors a leader who takes tremendous risk to promote peace and defend the human rights of a targeted or vulnerable community.

The Global Trailblazer Award recognizes a pioneer whose vision, contribution, and leadership has broken through barriers, elevated an issue to the world stage, and brought people together to take action that hastens shared progress.