- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton took time off the campaign trail Wednesday to present the Hillary Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security at Georgetown University in Washington.

The former secretary of state avoided partisan politics as she extolled the role of women as “agents of change, they are drivers of progress, and … makers of peace.”

Mrs. Clinton referred to her experiences at the State Department, which took her around the world and to some of the hot spots that are also at the forefront of the struggles involving women and women’s rights.

She recalled visiting a 10-year-old girl in Yemen who was trying to get a divorce from a marriage she’d been “bartered into with a much older man,” standing up for women in Saudi Arabia who were arrested “for daring to drive cars,” and warning before the Arab Spring that regimes “were going to sink into the sands unless significant reforms were to occur,” according to a pool report.

“Those travels to many countries, 112 in all, really brought home to me how important it is that everyone be able to participate,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We are at our strongest when we are inclusive, when we use the talents and the energies of every person.”

The former first lady, senator and top diplomat noted that women have made progress on health and education, enabling elementary school-age girls to get nearly to parity to attending school with their brothers and cutting maternal mortality rate.

“But in several areas we haven’t and one of those is peace and security. How do we do more to end conflicts which now principally affect women and children, and how do we do more to bring more women into that process of peacemaking,” she said.

“We can’t see women as victims. We must see them as so much more,” said Mrs. Clinton. “They are agents of change, they are drivers of progress, and yes, they are makers of peace.”

The awards named after Mrs. Clinton were created by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in 2014. Mrs. Clinton also serves as the honorary founding chair of the institute.

The recipients of the awards this year were U.N. Envoy for Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, who served as the chief negotiator of the Philippines government in the Mindanao Peace Talks.

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