The U.S. Institute of Peace has declared Rita Martin Lopidia of South Sudan the winner of the inaugural Women Building Peace Award.
Rita won the award during a virtual ceremony in Washington on Tuesday.
Ms Rita is the Executive Director of Eve, an organization that focuses on peace, security, women empowerment and development issues in South Sudan.
This award recognizes the vital efforts of individual women pursuing peace in fragile or conflict-affected countries around the world.
Ms. Lopidia led a coalition of women’s organizations to champion women’s participation in the 2018 revitalized peace agreement in South Sudan, and her organization supports women displaced by South Sudan’s conflict.
She has also advocated for the development of the South Sudan United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 National Action Plan and gender-sensitive legislation in her own country.
“Lopidia’s commitment to nonviolent action, inclusive leadership, and fearless advocacy embody the spirit of this award,” said Joe Lataille, Institute’s acting president and chief financial officer.
According to the institution, the 10 finalists were selected by USIP’s Women Building Peace Council.
More than 150 women were nominated for peacebuilding efforts in 51 countries.
The 10 finalists were selected by an 18-member group of experts and leaders in the fields of gender and peacebuilding, for their exemplary commitment and leadership as peacebuilding practitioners and their key roles in ending and preventing violent conflict.
The institute said the women have persevered under tough circumstances and have been extraordinary models of collaboration, leadership, courage, and commitment.
The Women Building Peace Award is said to build on 10 years of USIP’s existing work to empower women, elevate their voices, and support their roles in local and national peace processes.
Ms Rita Martin was also nominated in 2018 for the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
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