NEW YORK - May 13 - Hawa Aden Mohamed received the 2008 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award presented by Human Rights First in honor of her work to improve the quality of life for Somali women and girls. The award ceremony took place at a private reception on Tuesday, May 13th in New York City.
“Hawa Aden Mohamed has helped thousands of women and girls get access to education in what many would consider a failed state,” said Maureen Byrnes, executive director of Human Rights First. “But she has also helped challenge pervasive problems of violence against women in a setting where they are most vulnerable – one of conflict.”
While in Washington, DC, and New York in the 10 days prior to the reception, Ms. Mohamed met with international organizations, elected officials and policymakers to speak about the situation in Somalia.
“We asked the international community to hear women’s voices as part of the process of peace and reconciliation in Somalia,” said Mohamed.
Mohamed has dedicated her life to advancing the health and education of Somali women and girls, to providing both emergency and long-term assistance to internally-displaced Somali families, and to abolishing the practice of female genital mutilation. Ms. Mohamed began her work over three decades ago by founding the Refugee Women’s Relief and Development Center.
Currently, Mohamed serves as the Executive Director of the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development (GECPD), a community-based organization in the Puntland area of Somalia. Since it’s founding in 2000, GECPD operates primary and vocational education programs for impoverished, displaced, and minority women and girls and works within communities to promote women’s rights, including combating the grave problems of gender-based violence and female genital mutilation.
Named in honor of the principal founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the award is presented by Human Rights First every other year to a human rights organization or activist outside of the United States that has made a distinguished contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights. In alternate years the ACLU selects a U.S.-based winner.
Visit http://picasaweb.google.com/humanrightsfirst/2008BaldwinWinner for photos of the event.