Due to the restrictions of COVID-19 and social distancing, this year’s event will be held virtually through livestream broadcast and social media. Instead of 5K, walkers may choose the number of miles/kilometers to walk and have sponsors match a dollar amount.
MEET OUR 2020 AWARDEES
Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation has been awarding women and men for their work against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other types of violence against women and girls since 2015. The purpose of the Global Woman Awards is to recognize women, men and students who use their talents and professional attributes to help in the campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and other women’s interests, globally. As the awardees are chosen and confirmed, they will be posted to this page.
U.S. Congressman Gerald E. Connolly
Congressman Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 11th District, which includes Fairfax County, Prince William County, and the City of Fairfax in Northern Virginia. Prior to his election to Congress, he served 14 years on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, including five years as Chairman. He received an M.A. in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1979. He received a B.A. in Literature from Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Congressman Connolly has worked in the non-profit sector, primarily advocating for hunger aid and international assistance. He also has strong ties to the business community having spent two decades working for organizations and companies involved in international trade, regulatory matters, technology, and research. In Congress, he has played a key role in securing federal dollars for transportation improvements in Northern Virginia, including completion of the Fairfax County Parkway, widening the Prince William County Parkway, providing ongoing support for Rail to Dulles, and securing the annual federal commitment of $150 million for the regional Metro system. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and also serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Using his extensive background in foreign policy, including as a senior staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has become a leading voice on foreign assistance reform, war powers, embassy security, and democracy promotion abroad.
Lisa C. Bruch Woman of the Year Award
U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is an influential and forceful voice in Washington. She is serving her thirteenth term as a member of the United States House of Representatives. She represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston, which is the energy capital of the world. Considered by many as the “Voice of Reason”, she is dedicated to upholding the Constitutional rights of all people. She sits on three Congressional Committees — a senior member of the House Committees on the Judiciary and Homeland Security and appointed by the leadership as a Member of the crucial Budget Committee. She is a founder, member, and co-chair of the Congressional Children's Caucus and authored and introduced H.R. 83, the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act of 2013. She was instrumental in getting the bipartisan Anti-FGM Vacation Cutting bill passed in 2013. She is past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Energy Braintrust, co-chair of the Justice Reform Task Force, and a leadership appointed member of the International Helsinki Commission. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee earned a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University with honors in the first graduating class including females, followed by a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School.
Purity Soinato Oiyie
Purity Soinato Oiyie, 22, from Narok County, Kenya, was barely 11 when she ran away from home to a church rescue center that protected her from Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage. Her father wanted her to undergo FGM and marry to a 70-year old man. She is from Kenya’s indigenous Maasai community and against all odds, completed her education. Purity was the first girl in her village to say no to FGM, and chose to attend college. She now empowers other girls and parents to reject this harmful practice, and choose education. Her work contributes towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which explicitly targets to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including harmful practices like FGM, as well as SDG 4, which promotes lifelong education and learning for women and girls. Purity founded the Silan Foundation as a dream-come-true for teenage girls. She says, “I realized that FGM is a tradition inherited from our forefathers, just to oppress the dignity of women and girls. I desired to create awareness in 2018 when I was chosen by UN Women to represent the world’s young women and girls during the CSW62 (Commission on the Status of Women) in New York.” Purity was awarded the Young Women Leaders Mediation Ambassadorship by IPHRD Africa in Ethiopia. Her dream is to see the next generation of girls reading books, watching videos or listening to stories from elders about an eradicated FGM. In accepting her nomination as a Global Woman Awardee in the Advocacy category, Purity said, “I am so grateful and thankful for the opportunity. Thank you for recognizing my work and efforts of advocating for the eradication of FGM. On behalf of my family, friends, and Silan Foundation, we say, ‘ASANTE’ (Swahili word meaning ‘thank you’)”.
Education / Training
Donald A. Strong, BS, MBA, MPH
Donald Strong is the Director of Research Coordination and External Funding for the Department of Prevention and Community Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. He is responsible for developing relationships and collaborations with foundations, local and state government entities and other funding sources. Since joining the Department of Prevention and Community Health in 2013, Mr. Strong has been instrumental in assisting faculty in obtaining research, evaluation and training commitments from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The District of Columbia Department of Health, as well as health departments in several surrounding Maryland counties. For almost 20 years Mr. Strong has worked with medical providers and long-term care organizations to obtain contracts with The Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies. He has also been retained to provide business development services by some of the nation’s larger skilled nursing and hospital systems. He holds a BS from the University of Illinois, Urbana IL, a MBA from Columbia University, New York NY, and a MPH from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Ifrah Ahmed is originally from Somalia in East Africa and has been living in Ireland since 2006 and is a survivor of FGM. Ifrah is a social and community worker and has worked on many different projects involving organizations such as UNICEF, Amnesty International, Irish Refugee Council, Cairde, The Africa Centre, Spirasi, Somali Community in Ireland, Integration of African Children in Ireland and AkiDwA and others. The documentary film, "A Girl from Mogadishu" is based on the testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, who, having made the extraordinary journey to escape her war-torn Somalia, emerged as one of the world's foremost international activists against Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation. Within six years of arriving in Ireland as a refugee, Ifrah was instrumental in pushing forward the legislation that banned FGM in Ireland in 2012. That same year, Ireland passed the FGM Bill, officially banning the practice. She is the Founder of the "Ifrah Foundation". The Ifrah Foundation was founded in 2010 by Ifrah, who had become an Irish citizen. The organization is registered and recognized as a Civil Society Organization in Ireland. Ifrah is one of the world’s top international FGM eradication advocates and activists. She has received multiple awards for her work, as she campaigns relentlessly for legislation to ban FGM around the world. She is also the Gender Advisor to the Government of Somalia. Ifrah was also appointed as Human Rights Advisor to the Government of Somalia.
Marin Hoang is currently a student in the 11th grade at The Madeira School. Three years ago, as an 8th grader, she chose the topic of female genital mutilation for her middle-school graduation capstone project. As part of the project research, Marin attended a workshop on the mental health of FGM survivors and, subsequently, interviewed a survivor, F.A. Cole. She, her family and a group of health professionals participated in the fundraising and Walk To End FGM. These experiences made a great impact on her, and she continued to find ways to contribute to the effort to stop FGM. She continues to further raise awareness within her school community as she is in thriving in the final half of her high school career.
Man of the Year
Alexander Adams is the Chair of the Anti-FGM Network, located in the United Kingdom. He is also currently the Founder and Co-Chair of the COVID Crisis Rescue Foundation. Alexander spent his first year as Chair of Anti-FGM Network lobbying for mandatory basic FGM awareness training in all schools for all staff in the U.K. During his Chairmanship, Adams called for a cross-department ministerial action group on FGM to be established, to push their government to fund a national campaign, and to improve clinics and services for survivors. Since its establishment, the COVID Crisis Rescue Foundation has directed all efforts to support medical staff in the fight against the Coronavirus. Such efforts include procurement and delivery of personal protective equipment to hospitals, hot hubs, clinics, and homeless shelters across the U.K. Alexander is a passionate advocate for counter-extremism and women’s rights. Adams is a former corporate lawyer of the law firm, Slaughter and May, where he spent 7 years running and advising various venture capital-backed startups across a broad range of industries, and a number of charities and NGOs. He sits as an advisor on the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Crown Prosecution Service. Adams also possesses experience in managing multi-million pound corporations, protecting large international intellectual property portfolios, and developing PR strategies leading to global coverage in online, published and televised media.
Jeanne Smoot is the Senior Counsel for Public Policy and Strategy at the Tahirih Justice Center and helped launch its innovative Forced Marriage Initiative. Over her nearly 17 years with Tahirih, Jeanne has repeatedly worked with bipartisan lawmakers to defend asylum protection in the U.S. for women and girls fleeing gender-based violence, and most recently, helped galvanize public comment by the July 15 deadline to oppose the government’s proposed regulatory changes that curtail protection for all would effectively eliminate “gender-based asylum.” Jeanne has also helped draft and enact new laws to improve protections for women and girls, including Violence Against Women Act provisions to prevent the abuse and exploitation of so-called “mail-order brides” and historic reforms in several states to end child marriage. Her leadership of Tahirih’s campaign to end child marriage in the United States includes preparing comprehensive legal analyses, consulting to advocates (including survivor-advocates) and legislators across the country, reaching out to raise awareness about child marriage through the media, and otherwise contributing to date to new laws to end or limit child marriage in half of U.S. states. Jeanne is the principal author of Falling Through the Cracks: How Laws Allow Child Marriage to Happen in Today’s America, the first comprehensive analysis of provisions in all 50 states and Washington, DC and an updated policy brief on progress in the movement and reforms still urgently needed. She is a frequent presenter and media spokesperson, with interviews by CNN, NPR, The Economist, The Houston Chronicle, and The Washington Post, among other outlets. Jeanne holds a JD from Harvard University and a master’s degree from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.