The First Lady Honors International Women of Courage

Ed. note: This blog is cross-posted from the blog. The original post date was March 4, 2014. Learn more about the winners.

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the International Women of Courage Awards ceremony at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom at the Department of State today to honor recipients of the International Women of Courage Award.

"This is the sixth time that I've had the pleasure of attending this event, and it is one of the highlights of my year because I always walk away feeling inspired by these women, determined to reflect their courage in my own life," Mrs. Obama said. "And I know I'm not alone in that feeling because every day, with every life they touch and every spirit they raise, these women are creating ripples that stretch across the globe."

The award annually recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women's empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of the award in 2007, the Department of State has honored more than 70 women from 49 different countries.

"When we see these women raise their voices and move their feet and empower others to create change, we need to realize that each of us has that same power and that same obligation," the First Lady added." … the idea that a girl in Dakar shares the same hopes and dreams as a girl from Fiji or Ukraine or the South Side of Chicago — that reminds us that we're never alone in our struggles."

Read the First Lady's full remarks to the International Women of Courage Award recipients.