On International Women's Day, Aneesa Ahmed became the second alumna of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program to win an award bestowed on only 46 women since its inception in 2007—the prestigious Secretary of State's Award for International Women of Courage. During the awards ceremony First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary Clinton recognized Aneesa Ahmed's work as a staunch advocate for ending gender-based violence (GBV) in the Maldives.
Ahmed studied as a Humphrey Fellow at the Pennsylvania State University from 1985-1986. Then, while serving as Deputy Minister of Women's Affairs, Ahmed raised the issue of domestic violence at a time when the subject was taboo. After leaving the government, she founded the NGO “Hope for Women” and began conducting sessions on GBV with students, Maldives Police Services, and other frontline workers. By openly discussing issues like these and promoting awareness through her NGO, Ms. Ahmed plays a key role in bringing these issues into public discourse and pressing the government to take action.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program brings young and mid-career professionals from transitioning and developing countries to the United States for a year of graduate-level work and professional development. Since 1979, more than 4,490 Humphrey Fellows from 157 countries have studied at 44 campuses across the United States.