Women for Women International to Honor Dr. Denis Mukwege with 2015 Champion of Peace


DATE: November 4, 2015

PRESS CONTACTS: Amber Khan, Senior Director of Communications, amber.khan@womenforwomen.org or (202) 521-9607 Amanda Strayer, Communications Officer, astrayer@womenforwomen.org or (440) 221-5666

ATTN PHOTO EDITORS: Photos will be available via Dropbox on November 11, 2015.

Women for Women International to Honor Dr. Denis Mukwege with 2015 Champion of Peace

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell will join celebration to honor Dr. Mukwege at organization’s Annual Gala.

November 4, 2015, Washington, D.C. – Women for Women International will award Dr. Denis Mukwege with the 2015 Champion of Peace Award at its Annual Gala in New York City on November 10, 2015 at Cipriani 42nd Street. The evening will bring attention to inspiring stories that highlight the resilience of women working to rebuild their lives in conflict-impacted regions. The award to Dr. Mukwege will underscore Women for Women International’s commitment to engaging men as allies and partners to reduce gender-based violence and increase support for women’s empowerment.

The evening’s host will be model and humanitarian Philomena Kwao, and the event will feature remarks by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell and a performance by singer Rachel Platten. Attendees will include NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo and fashion model Emily Caillon Chene.

“We are proud to honor Dr. Denis Mukwege both for his work to provide medical treatment for survivors of rape at his Panzi Hospital in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and to galvanize global action to end sexual violence in conflict,” says Jennifer L. Windsor, Chief Executive Officer of Women for Women International. “As countries like the eastern DRC face conflicts that don’t end and where sexual violence is a weapon of war, it will take men and women coming together to end these crimes. Dr. Mukwege’s example is a powerful reminder of the ways men are stepping up as allies and partners for women’s empowerment, which WfWI promotes through our own men’s training program in conflict-affected communities.”

The evening has been underwritten by Gala Co-Chairs Jan Rock Zubrow, Amy L. Towers, and Deborah L. Harmon to ensure the proceeds from the event will directly support WfWI’s work, including a special campaign to support Syrian and Yazidi women displaced by conflict in northern Iraq. Proceeds will also support expanding WfWI’s men’s engagement training programs that enlist men as partners to support women’s rights and equality.


About Dr. Denis Mukwege

Since founding Panzi Hospital in 1999 in response to the deteriorating health care opportunities for women in war-torn DRC, Dr. Mukwege and a team of 370 staff have provided care for more than 40,000 women, and offered free medical care to 20,000 survivors of sexual violence. As rape and sexual violence increasingly became a weapon of war in the eastern DRC, Dr. Mukwege not only expanded the services of the hospital to provide a safe haven for women survivors, many of whom had nowhere else to turn, but also drew international attention to these crimes at great personal risk. His tireless efforts to advocate on behalf of women survivors of sexual violence in the DRC have earned him the European Union’s 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

“It’s not a women question; it’s a humanity question, and men have to take responsibility to end it,” said Dr. Mukwege. “It is critically important that organizations like Women for Women International are stepping up to sensitize and train men on women’s rights and equality, engaging them as allies and partners to end sexual violence and other crimes and ensure women and communities have access to justice, dignity, and peace.”


About Women for Women International

Since 1993, Women for Women International (WfWI) has provided women survivors of war, and conflict with resources to move from crisis and isolation to stability and empowerment. WfWI delivers these resources through a tiered, yearlong program that begins with direct financial aid and emotional support. Participants also learn about their legal rights; receive life-skills training such as health awareness, numeracy, budgeting and saving, decision-making and negotiation, and civic participation; learn business and vocational skills; and gain access to income-generating activities where they can apply those skills and begin moving towards economic stability. Along with helping more than 429,000 women in the past 20 years to rebuild their own lives and those of their families and communities after war, WfWI uses its voice to call global attention to the unique role that women play in advancing peace throughout society. WfWI works in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Sudan. To learn more, please visit www.womenforwomen.org.