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2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), and this year’s luncheon was a fitting celebration of both the organization’s work and the inspirational work of three former refugees. The celebratory luncheon was held on May 1, 2014, at Cipriani 42nd St in New York City.

Browse photos of the event and watch videos of the inspiring speeches.

Three honorees received the prestigious ‘Voices of Courage’ award:


 Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee
Leymah helped to end Liberia’s bloody civil war as she united Muslim and Christian women to advocate for peace. 
Watch the Video 

 Youth Activist Chernor Bah
Chernor has worked for children’s rights in his native Sierra Leone since the age of 16, and has globalized his efforts through his current position as the Chair of the UN’s Global Campaign on Education’s Youth Advocacy Group. 
Watch the Video 

 Women’s Rights Activist Mary Tal
Mary experienced firsthand the discrimination and challenges that women refugees face in South Africa, and she founded and directs the Whole World Women Association to empower refugee women. Watch the Video 

A host of luminaries presented the awards to these inspiring activists.


 Liv Ullmann
A WRC co-founder and refugee advocate, Liv spoke about the evocative experiences that led to the creation of the Women’s Refugee Commission.
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 Meryl Streep
Acclaimed actress and women’s rights advocate, Meryl did a dramatic reading of refugee stories and introduced girls’ education champion Malala Yousafzai.
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 Malala Yousafzai
A girls' edcuation advocate and surivivor of a Taliban assassination attempt, Malala presented the award to Chernor Bah.
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 Dr. Sima Samar
A WRC honoree in 2001 and a tireless advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan, Dr. Samar presented the award to Mary Tal.
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 Abigail Disney, filmmaker of the award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, presented the award to Leymah Gbowee.
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 Women of the World
This diverse group of singers finished the event on a high note.
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