Every year since 2002, we have gathered at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to recognize women who are social entrepreneurs, political representatives, businesswomen, human rights defenders and civil society advocates.
This year we are pleased to honor:
Rosana Shaack: Liberian Activist rehabilitating girl soldiers.
Ruth Zavaleta Salgado: Mexican politician and former speaker of the house of representatives who exposed widespread corruption within her own party.
Adi Tafuna'i: Samoan who is innovating rural economic systems to produce local goods and stimulate trade in isolated communities throughout the Pacific region.
Samar Minallah Khan: Documentarian working in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier to produce films about women's rights and child marriage.
Marianne Ibrahim: Coptic Egyptian who leads interfaith dialogue, trains women to run for office and has inserted herself into the drafting of the constitution to lobby for the inclusion of women's rights.
Amira Yahyaoui: Tunisian blogger and fierce anti-censorship activist who has created the first NGO to monitor parliament and report on human rights abuses.
Manal al Sharif: Saudi woman who defied a cultural norm and was imprisoned after deciding to film herself driving. she is leading a national campaign for women's right to drive.
Salwa Bugaighis: One of two Libyan women in the NTC, she resigned from the council because she felt women's presence was nominal and now works outside the system to mobilize women candidates for this summer's election.
Shatha al-Harazi: Journalist reporting on human rights for Yemen Times who gained national attention as a social media influencer.
They are the women we invest in; theirs is the leadership that improves our world.
This year on June 6, at the Opera House of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, we are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the very first Vital Voices conference held in Vienna, Austria. This conference spearheaded the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative and led to the inception of Vital Voices Global Partnership.