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Woman Extraordinaire Award 

Since 1996, IWA has presented the Woman Extraordinaire Award to a woman with ties to Chicago whose international humanitarian efforts have advanced the welfare of women and children and inspire constructive action by others. Past recipients include Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and Major Tammy Duckworth (now a member of the U.S. Congress). To view the entire list of past honorees CLICK HERE





The IWA 2018 Woman Extraordinaire Award Celebration honoring, Shermin Kruse 

was held on Friday, October 19th at the Standard Club of Chicago


Thank you to all sponsors, guests, donors, and supporters in making the event a success!





CLICK HERE to watch the VIDEO from Woman Extraordinaire on YouTube 


CLICK HERE to view PHOTOS from Woman Extraordinaire 


CLICK HERE to read a pdf. of Shermin's Speech


CLICK HERE to read the article on WEX in Classic Chicago Magazine


CLICK HERE to read the article on Shermin Kruse featured in WomanScape, WEX Ruby Sponsor


CLICK HERE for a PDF. of the article



Ms. Kruse was honored for her many accomplishments as an international human rights activist focusing on women and children and for her dedication to cross-cultural peace dialogue and negotiation, diversity, and women in leadership.  Ms. Kruse is a director of RefuSHE, the international refugee center formerly known as Heshima Kenya, and co-founder and director of the Pasfarda Arts and Culture Exchange, which promotes understanding between Iran and the United States through the arts. She has worked to strengthen cross-cultural understanding and to empower refugee women, even traveling to the Turkey-Syria border. Additionally, she is an Emerging Leader Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a director of the ACLU of Illinois, and a partner in the law firm of Barack Ferrazzano.


Ms. Kruse is the epitome of a global renaissance woman. She moved from childhood in Iran, to teenage years in Canada, to adult life in the United States as a lawyer and author, obtaining her law degree cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. Her semi-autobiographical novel, Butterfly Stitching, is set in Iran where she lived until age 11, dodging rockets and the morality police. Ms. Kruse is also a 2017 TEDx speaker, a commentator on foreign policy issues for NPR’s Worldview, and a contributing writer to publications such as Huffington Post and Fete Lifestyle. She is married to Stuart Kruse, and they have four children.


Ms. Kruse’s 2017 TEDx talk,"How to Change the World" aligns with IWA’s recently deceased founder Doe Thornburg’s charge to its members, “Always see the sacred in others.”  


Thank you to our Ruby Sponsors:  

        




Past Recipients



Kimberly Jung, CEO and Co-Founder of Rumi Spice

Kimberly Jung is an Army veteran and passionate international entrepreneur.  A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who served in Germany and Afghanistan and then earned her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, Kim is the CEO and Co-Founder of Chicago-based Rumi Spice, www.rumispice.com. Named after the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi began with a mission to cultivate peace in Afghanistan and does so by partnering directly with Afghan farmers to grow exceptionally high quality saffron and export the precious spice to customers around the world.  




Vicki Escarra is Global CEO of Opportunity International, the premier non-profit financial services organization for the poor. Escarra leads a network of 20,000 staff members and 30,000 donors who are helping 14.3 million clients in 24 countries work their way out of poverty. More than 95 percent of Opportunity’s loan clients are women who would otherwise never have access to financial services because of legal and cultural gender inequities in most developing nations. Escarra was formerly President and CEO of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Prior to that, Escarra rose to Chief Marketing Officer at Delta Air Lines, becoming one of the highest-ranking women in the aviation industry at the time.



Karen Koning AbuZayd currently serves as a Commissioner of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, informing the United Nations on the refugee problems arising out the current conflict in the Middle East. She began her humanitarian career in the Sudan in 1981, dealing with Ugandan, Chadian and Ethiopian refugees fleeing from war and famine in their own countries.   From 1991 to 1993 Ms. AbuZayd directed the South African repatriation operation and the Kenyan-Somali cross
-border operation. She was Chief of Mission for two years during the Bosnian war—four million war-affected people were kept alive by UN’s airlift and convoy activities.  From 2005 until 2010 she was Under Secretary-General as UNRWA Commissioner-General.  Based in Gaza, she helped to oversee the education, health, social services and microenterprise programs for four million Palestinian refugees.
      
Sheila Roche is an international marketing, communications and public affairs/advocacy consultant. She launched the (RED) AIDS organization in 2006 for its founders, Bono and Bobby Shriver to help provide a sustainable flow of money from the private sector to fight AIDS. To-date, (RED) has generated $250M+ and is the largest business sector contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the investor of (RED) money in African AIDS programs).

Funmi Olopade, M.D. Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago; breast cancer specialist; 2005 MacArthur Foundation fellow. 



Connie K. Duckworth Trailblazing business leader and founder of ARZU STUDIO HOPE, an organization empowering women, families and communities in Afghanistan through its unique social business model.


Marjorie Craig Benton Lifelong activist working on behalf of women and children and for community development, she also worked extensively on arms control and disarmament. Among numerous civic posts, served as Ambassador to UNICEF, and is currently involved with Partners in Health, which seeks to raise the standard of care for the poor worldwide.


Anna Eleanor Roosevelt As Vice President for Global Corporate Citizenship at Chicago-based Boeing Company, she led a network of U.S. and international community investors to address the needs of selected communities around the world.


IWA has also presented the Rising Voice of Woman Award to the following outstanding and inspirational women:


Mary Robinson First woman President of Ireland; former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Realizing Rights founder.

Prudence Bushnell Diplomat and educator; U.S. Ambassador to Kenya when the embassy was bombed by Al-Qaeda; State Department official, who worked to prevent the genocide in Rwanda; long focused on improving the status of women, especially in developing countries.


Molly Melching Founder and Executive Director of Senegal-based Tostan, a non-governmental organization dedicated to community education and empowerment in several African countries. It is perhaps best known for virtually ending female genital cutting and forced child marriage in those countries.

Kathryn Bolkovac Human rights activist and former police investigator who worked with Human Rights Watch in Bosnia to expose the abuse committed against young girls forced into prostitution and used as sex slaves by U.S. military contractors, other police, and various international organizations.








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