WASHINGTON D.C. — First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted the 17th annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award Ceremony. The ceremony took place at the White House for the first time in the award’s history.

The following is an excerpt from the U.S. Department of State’s website:

Now in its 17th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women from around the world who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls, in all their diversity, and more, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.

In a typical year, the IWOC awardees are invited to Washington D.C. to receive their awards from the Secretary of State and the First Lady in a ceremony held on or in proximity to International Women’s Day (March 8th). The recipients then travel across the United States to participate in specially designed International Visitor Leadership Programs (IVLP) exchanges. Their IVLP visits culminate with a dinner hosted by American Women for International Understanding (AWIU), who also provides the awardees with special grants to continue their work at home.