An International Woman of Courage

This spring we were pleased to host a 2017 International Woman of Courage. The award, as explained by the U.S. Department of State, “is the prestigious Secretary of State’s Award which annually recognizes women around the world who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment.  Through this annual award, the United States honors the work of extraordinary women worldwide who have played transformative roles in their societies.”

International Woman of Courage Saadet Ozkan is Turkish and fights against child abuse in that country. In Pensacola she visited with several professionals to explore how our community confronts the same issue. At the PACE Center for Girls, for example, she met Laurie Rodgers and Ashley Donahoo who shared the mission of that non‑residential delinquency prevention program for females ages twelve to eighteen.  Her site visit to the Gulf Coast Kid’s House (GCKH) introduced her to Stacey Kostevicki, Kirsten Bucey, Elise Dawson, Jennifer Krumbein, Anne Patterson, and Jessica Mayo who explained how the collaborative model of the GCKH facilitates the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse and neglect and promotes child abuse prevention awareness though community education. Cate Jordan at 90 Works also shared her organization’s range of services and explained its aim of helping clients create more stable and safe lives while State Attorney Greg Marcille highlighted the court procedures for cases of child abuse and explained the role of victim advocates.

Diane Mack and the Institute for Women in Politics of Northwest Florida partnered with us to present a reception and speaking engagement for Ms. Ozkan who also was a guest on Conversations with Jeff Weeks where she shared her work with a wider audience.

The Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council thanks all who contributed to the success of the project and extends special appreciation to two members of the board.  Board Member Julie Tippins Parker accompanied Ms. Ozkan and her interpreter to all appointments and Board Member Tara Jones hosted a luncheon in her home in Ms. Ozkan’s honor which was also attended by Rachel Hendrix, Mambwe Mutanuka, and Frederique Beroset.

You can find out more information about Saadet Ozkan and her work through this link.