March 17, 2021
On March 8, United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken hosted the annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards virtual ceremony to honor a group of extraordinary women from around the world. In addition to the individual IWOC awards, an honorary IWOC award was presented to seven women leaders and activists from Afghanistan who were assassinated for their dedication to improving the lives of Afghans. Fatima Khalil, among 6 brave Afghan women, was posthumously awarded the International Women of Courage Award 2021. https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-at-the-international-women-of-courage-iwoc-awards-ceremony/ She was AUCA Alumni and worked with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Fatima was killed, along with her driver, in June 2020 by an IED in Kabul, on her way to her office.
"All of us in the global AUCA community are thrilled that Natasha Khalil, class of 2019, brilliant but brief life was honored this week by the US Department of State as one of 21 Women of Courage for 2021. This honor bestowed by the State Department is a gift for all of us who grieve her passing. It is also an important statement by the new Biden Administration about its commitment to human rights and the future of Afghanistan as Afghan women comprised 7 of those honored," said AUCA President Dr. Andrew Kuchins.
Earlier this year AUCA established the Fatima Natasha Khalil Scholarship Fund which will support one outstanding student each year studying human rights at AUCA as well as other activities to support human and women's rights at AUCA. You can learn more about the Fund and how to participate: https://bit.ly/3rE7MBk