In a February 26 ceremony held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Panzi Hospital Founder, Dr. Denis Mukwege, was honored with the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security. The award was created by Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, led by executive director and Georgetown alumna Melanne Verveer, who most recently served as U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues.
This year’s award recognized outstanding male leaders who play a critical role in supporting women in building peace. Dr. Mukwege was honored for his work in founding Panzi Hospital, a facility in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that provides treatment to women who are victims of sexual violence in this region of the world, termed by some as the “Rape Capital of the World”. Dr. Mukwege is one of the Foundation’s longest-term partners, having received funding from Fistula Foundation for traumatic and obstetric fistula repair since 2009. Dr. Mukwege has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Mukwege called for greater international action to end sexual violence against women in conflict areas, and shared his belief that the award “…sends an important message: we can put an end to sexual violence in conflict and in peace time by pressing for greater political will, by taking on the responsibility to protect, and by healing and empowering survivors. But first and foremost we must engage men and boys together with women and girls in the struggle to end patriarchal discrimination and gender based abuses.”
Fistula Foundation CEO Kate Grant attended the award ceremony. “Denis Mukwege is an inspiration and his Panzi Hospital is a beacon of hope and healing for women who have suffered unspeakable acts of violence. Fistula Foundation is honored to fund fistula treatment that helps make women whole again as they rebuild their bodies and lives.”
Read this article and more in Fistula Foundation’s spring 2014 newsletter.