2018 HRC Awards Honor Two Global Human Rights Activists

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented awards from the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security to (from left to right) Nadia Murad, Wai Wai Nu and Lyse Doucet for their efforts in advancing women’s role in creating a more peaceful and secure world.

January 31, 2018 – Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in Georgetown’s Gaston Hall Feb. 5 on the importance of women’s leadership in advancing human rights, justice and peace.

Hillary Clinton with stained-glass window behind her

She also presented the 2018 Hillary Rodham Clinton awards, bestowed annually by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security to individuals advancing women’s role in creating a more peaceful and secure world.

This year’s awardees are Nadia Murad, a former ISIS captive, and Wai Wai Nu, a Rohingya activist and former political prisoner from Myanmar. Both women have overcome tremendous personal adversity and become powerful voices for women’s rights in conflict.


Murad is now a Yazidi human rights activist and United Nations’ Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. Nu works as a civil society advocate for human rights, democracy and peace in Myanmar.

A special Global Trailblazer Award was presented by Clinton to BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet for her courageous reporting on war and her efforts to spotlight the impact of conflict on women and children.

Last year, the awards were presented to four Colombians who ensured women’s voices were included in that nation’s peace agreement with the FARC.


Clinton is the honorary founding chair of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

She launched the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown six years ago.

GIWPS, led by former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, examines and highlights the roles and experiences of women in peace and security efforts worldwide through cutting-edge research, global convening and strategic partnerships.

In partnership with the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, GIWPS has created an index that draws on recognized international data sources to rank 153 countries on women’s wellbeing.

Nadia Murad

Hillary Clinton Award | 02/05/2018

headshot of Human rights activist Nadia Murad Basee Taha

Nadia Murad is a Yazidi activist and human rights champion.

In 2014, the Islamic State attacked Nadia’s village in Iraq’s Sinjar region. That day, she witnessed the murders of her mother and brothers at the hands of the Islamic State, which considers the Yazidis to be ‘infidels.’ Nadia, was kidnapped and enslaved as a sex slave to members of the Islamic State. That year, around 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were abducted by the Islamic State.

Nadia managed to escape from her captives and a nearby family helped her flee from ISIS-controlled territory. She was able to reach a refugee camp in northern Iraq, and thereafter she was selected for a resettlement program in Germany.

Since then, Nadia has testified about her experiences to the United Nations Security Council. She uses her platform to urge the international community to respond to the plight of the Yazidis and other ethno-religious minorities in Iraq. London-based human rights attorney Amal Clooney has taken on Nadia’s case in pressuring the United Nations to investigate the crimes committed against the Yazidis by the Islamic State.

Now a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the first UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, Nadia is a powerful voice for justice for the Yazidis.

Wai Wai Nu

Hillary Clinton Award | 02/05/2018

head shot of Wai Wai

Wai Wai is a leading voice for human rights and peace in Myanmar.

Wai Wai was among thousands of political prisoners detained by Myanmar’s former military regime. Following the sentencing of her father, an opposition MP, the then-18-year-old law student was sentenced to seventeen years in Insein Prison.

Wai Wai served seven years of her sentence, a period that she now refers to as her “University of Life.” Freed in 2012, at the age of 25, she quickly became an agent of change.

She earned her law degree at Yangon East University. She founded two NGOs: Women’s Peace Network-Arakan—an organization that conducts trainings around civic engagement in Rakhine State—and Justice for Women—a network of female lawyers offering legal aid to Burmese women. Through these organizations, Wai Wai aims to bolster peace-building efforts and empower Myanmar’s women and youth through legal counsel and rights education.

Wai Wai is Rohingya. Her viral #MyFriend campaign in 2015, urging social media users to share ‘selfies’ with their friends of diverse racial and religious backgrounds, solidified her reputation as a young human rights activist worldwide. She recently used her platform to persuade the United Nations to conduct a fact-finding mission in Myanmar—though she lobbied for a more intensive Commission of Inquiry—to investigate the persecution of her fellow Rohingya in Myanmar.

Hillary Clinton Rethinks Decision to Retain Employee Accused of Inappropriate Behavior

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hillary Clinton

The most important work of my life has been to support and empower women. I’ve tried to do so here at home, around the world, and in the organizations I’ve run. I started in my twenties, and four decades later I’m nowhere near being done. I’m proud that it’s the work I’m most associated with, and it remains what I’m most dedicated to.

So I very much understand the question I’m being asked as to why I let an employee on my 2008 campaign keep his job despite his inappropriate workplace behavior.

The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.

Before giving some of the reasons why I made a different choice back then and why looking back I wish I’d done it differently, here’s what happened and what my thinking was at the time.

In 2007, a woman working on my campaign came forward with a complaint about her supervisor behaving inappropriately toward her. She and her complaint were taken seriously. Senior campaign staff and legal counsel spoke to both her and the offender. They determined that he had in fact engaged in inappropriate behavior. My then-campaign manager presented me with her findings. She recommended that he be fired. I asked for steps that could be taken short of termination. In the end, I decided to demote him, docking his pay; separate him from the woman; assign her to work directly for my then-deputy-campaign manager; put in place technical barriers to his emailing her; and require that he seek counseling. He would also be warned that any subsequent harassment of any kind toward anyone would result in immediate termination.

I did this because I didn’t think firing him was the best solution to the problem. He needed to be punished, change his behavior, and understand why his actions were wrong. The young woman needed to be able to thrive and feel safe. I thought both could happen without him losing his job. I believed the punishment was severe and the message to him unambiguous.

I also believe in second chances. I’ve been given second chances and I have given them to others. I want to continue to believe in them. But sometimes they’re squandered. In this case, while there were no further complaints against him for the duration of the campaign, several years after working for me he was terminated from another job for inappropriate behavior. That reoccurrence troubles me greatly, and it alone makes clear that the lesson I hoped he had learned while working for me went unheeded. Would he have done better – been better – if I had fired him? Would he have gotten that next job? There is no way I can go back 10 years and know the answers. But you can bet I’m asking myself these questions right now.

Over the years, I have made, directly and indirectly, thousands of personnel decisions – everything from hiring to promoting to disciplining to firing. Most of these decisions worked out well. But I’ve gotten some wrong: I’ve hired the wrong people for the wrong jobs; I’ve come down on people too hard at times. Through it all, I’ve always taken firing very seriously. Taking away someone’s livelihood is perhaps the most serious thing an employer can do. When faced with a situation like this, if I think it’s possible to avoid termination while still doing right by everyone involved, I am inclined in that direction. I do not put this forward as a virtue or a vice – just as a fact about how I view these matters.

When The New York Times reported on this incident last week, my first thought was for the young woman involved. So I reached out to her – most importantly, to see how she was doing, but also to help me reflect on my decision and its consequences. It’s never easy when something painful or personal like this surfaces, much less when it appears all over the news. I called her not knowing what I’d hear. Whatever she had to say, I wanted her to be able to say it, and say it to me.

She expressed appreciation that she worked on a campaign where she knew she could come forward without fear. She was glad that her accusations were taken seriously, that there was a clear process in place for dealing with harassment, and that it was followed. Most importantly, she told me that for the remainder of the campaign, she flourished in her new role. We talked about her career, policy issues related to the work she’s doing now, and her commitment to public service. I told her how grateful I was to her for working on my campaign and believing in me as a candidate. She’s read every word of this and has given me permission to share it.

It was reassuring to hear that she felt supported back then – and that all these years later, those feelings haven’t changed. That again left me glad that my campaign had in place a comprehensive process for dealing with complaints. The fact that the woman involved felt heard and supported reinforced my belief that the process worked – at least to a degree. At the time, I believed the punishment I imposed was severe and fit the offense. Indeed, while we are revisiting whether my decision from a decade ago was harsh enough, many employers would be well served to take actions at least as severe when confronted with problems now – including the very media outlet that broke this story. They recently opted to suspend and reinstate one of their journalists who exhibited similarly inappropriate behavior, rather than terminate him. A decade from now, that decision may not look as tough as it feels today. The norms around sexual harassment will likely have continued to change as swiftly and significantly in the years to come as they have over the years until now.

Over the past year, a seismic shift has occurred in the way we approach and respond to sexual harassment, both as a society and as individuals. This shift was long overdue. It occurred thanks to women across industries who stood up and spoke out, from Hollywood to sports to farm workers – to the very woman who worked for me.

For most of my life, harassment wasn’t something talked about or even acknowledged. More women than not experience it to some degree in their life, and until recently, the response was often to laugh it off or tough it out. That’s changing, and that’s a good thing. My own decision to write in my memoir about my experiences being sexually harassed and physically threatened early in my career – the first time was in college – was more agonizing than it should have been. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones, and what happened to me seemed so commonplace that I wondered if it was even worth sharing. But in the end, that’s exactly why I chose to write about it: because I don’t want this behavior or these attitudes to be accepted as “normal” for any woman, especially those just starting out in their lives.

No woman should have to endure harassment or assault – at work, at school, or anywhere. And men are now on notice that they will truly be held accountable for their actions. Especially now, we all need to be thinking about the complexities of sexual harassment, and be willing to challenge ourselves to reassess and question our own views.

In other words, everyone’s now on their second chance, both the offenders and the decision-makers. Let’s do our best to make the most of it.

We can’t go back, but we can certainly look back, informed by the present. We can acknowledge that even those of us who have spent much of our life thinking about gender issues and who have firsthand experiences of navigating a male-dominated industry or career may not always get it right.

I recognize that the situation on my 2008 campaign was unusual in that a woman complained to a woman who brought the issue to a woman who was the ultimate decision maker. There was no man in the chain of command. The boss was a woman. Does a woman have a responsibility to come down even harder on the perpetrator? I don’t know. But I do believe that a woman boss has an extra responsibility to look out for the women who work for her, and to better understand how issues like these can affect them.

I was inspired by my conversation with this young woman to express my own thinking on the matter. You may question why it’s taken me time to speak on this at length. The answer is simple: I’ve been grappling with this and thinking about how best to share my thoughts. I hope that my doing so will push others to keep having this conversation – to ask and try to answer the hard questions, not just in the abstract but in the real-life contexts of our roles as men, women, bosses, employees, advocates, and public officials. I hope that women will continue to talk and write about their own experiences and that they will continue leading this critical debate, which, done right, will lead to a better, fairer, safer country for us all.

Fake “Julian Assange” Says Hillary has Dementia; Retweeted 8500 Times So Far

The description of the fake account even declared it was a “Parody”:

“You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere. Parody Account. PARODY ACCOUNT!!!

Magaville, USA”

Skeptic Review Reminder:

Courtesy Media Literacy Week 2017.