New York, NY—The International Women’s Health Coalition will celebrate the work of renowned human rights champion Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations, at its Annual Dinner on March 7, 2017, in New York. Pakistani activist Sheena Hadi, Executive Director of the groundbreaking sexual and reproductive health organization Aahung, will receive the Joan B. Dunlop Award, named after IWHC’s Founder and President. Special guest Ambassador Samantha Power will introduce Neier.
“Aryeh Neier is an unmatched and fearless leader of the human rights movement. We are thrilled to recognize his significant achievements in fighting injustice around the world,” said Françoise Girard, President of the International Women’s Health Coalition. “At a time when people in the United States and around the world are facing increasing attacks on their fundamental rights, his experience and commitment to the feminist movement are a wellspring from which all of us can draw.”
A foremost figure in the human rights field, Aryeh Neier presided over the Open Society Foundations for almost two decades and was a founder of Human Rights Watch, where he served as Executive Director for 12 years. Neier was Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1970-1978. He has lectured at many leading universities in the United States and worldwide and is the author of seven books, including The International Human Rights Movement: A History. He is a pioneer in the reproductive rights movement in the United States. As head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, from 1965 to 1970, he led the charge to repeal laws that criminalized abortion.
Sheena Hadi leads Aahung, an organization in Pakistan that boldly takes on cultural taboos and works to improve young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health information and care. Sheena and her team at Aahung successfully worked with Pakistan’s Department of Education in Sindh province—which has the country’s highest rates of child, early, and forced marriage—to integrate comprehensive sexuality education content into the school curriculum. Hadi is also an active advocate at the United Nations for women and youth. Hadi and Aahung were honored by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs with its 2013 Human Rights Tulip Award.
“I can think of no one more deserving of the Joan B. Dunlop award,” said Girard. “Sheena’s deep commitment to Pakistan’s young people embodies Joan Dunlop’s tenacity in prioritizing the human rights of women and girls during her lifetime. Under Sheena Hadi’s leadership, Aahung is ensuring that thousands of young people can make choices about their lives and plan their own futures.”