by SHARIF M. TAHA
RIYADH, March 7 – A Saudi doctor has been chosen as one of 10 winners of the International Women of Courage Award, according to local media.
Maha Al-Muneef is a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases and the executive director of the National Family Safety Program, the first organization in Saudi Arabia to address domestic violence and child abuse.
Al-Muneef was not present at the awards ceremony in the US for health reasons, local media said.
US first lady Michelle Obama handed out the awards at a ceremony last week to mark the 103rd anniversary of International Women’s Day.
Al-Muneef has been an adviser to the Shoura Council since 2009 and public advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Her work in hospitals helped change protocols for victims of rape and abuse, created new regulations for handling cases, and set up special training programs for medical personnel.
Speaking to local media, Al-Muneef said she was honored to have received the award. She remained committed to helping vulnerable children in the Kingdom from abuse.
The women honored included Ukraine singer Ruslana and others from Afghanistan, Fiji, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Mali, Tajikistan and Zimbabwe.
Established in 2007, the annual award “honors women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating human rights, women’s equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk,” according to the US State Department website. — ArabNews