Embassy News 2010
U.S. Embassy Presents Woman of Courage Award to Mariam Sukhudyan
March 11, 2010
During a ceremony held at the U.S. Embassy on March 10, 2010, Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch presented the U.S. Embassy of Armenia's first ever Woman of Courage Award to the civil society activist Miss Mariam Sukhudyan. The award honored Miss Sukhudyan's "responsibility, courage and leadership in the pursuit of justice and advocating for the protection" of the environment and children with special needs, and highlighted Miss Sukhudyan's "determination to act in order to right a wrong, in spite of the personal sacrifices it entailed." Ambassador Yovanovitch and Miss Sukhudyan alike gave remarks at the ceremony.
The Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Awards program began in 2007, and this year, in the fourth annual presentation of the prize, the award honored women who have undertaken extraordinary steps and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the pursuit of equality, opportunity, and justice. Although Miss Sukhudyan was not among the seven finalists selected to receive the Secretary of State's award, the U.S. Embassy chose to recognize Miss Sukhudyan with its own Woman of Courage Award, in honor of her efforts both in advocating for environmental conservation as well as protecting the rights of children with special needs.
In her remarks, Ambassador Yovanovitch noted that Miss Sukhudyan "has campaigned to protect Armenia's forests, wildlife and environment; she has volunteered in schools for special needs children; and when she arrived at Nubarashen Special School Number 11 and found neglect and abuse of children in its care, she acted to stop it … not for her own benefit, but for justice and the welfare of all children in Armenia." The Ambassador also congratulated the women at the ceremony on the occasion of International Women's Day.