Saturday, March 29, 2014

President Obama Presents State Dept 2014 Women of Courage Award: Dr. Maha Al Muneef

Ritz Carlton
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

THE PRESIDENT:  For the press, I just wanted to let everybody know Dr. Al Muneef was a recipient of the International Women of Courage Award that the State Department annually presents to women who are doing extraordinary work around the world advocating on behalf of women, children, and families.  She was not able to attend because of family health issues, but we were aware of the fact that we’d be able to see her here today to personally present the award. 
I’m doing this on behalf of Michelle Obama, who normally is the presenter, and I know that Dr. Al Muneef is disappointed that it’s me instead of Michelle -- appropriately so.  (Laughter.)  But Dr. Maha Al Muneef has been able to not only set up services here in the kingdom, but also, more importantly in some ways, been able to pass laws providing protections for women and children for domestic abuse and to provide a safe space and shelter for those who are suffering from domestic abuses.
And so to see the kind of progress that’s been made, her ability to work with the kingdom to persuade many that this is an issue that’s going to be important to the society over the long term, I think makes this award fully justified.  And so we’re very, very proud of you and grateful for all the work you’re doing here and I’m looking forward to seeing you do even more wonderful things in the future.
DR. AL MUNEEF:  Thank you.  (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  And she has wonderful children who are over there taking pictures.  She’s very proud of them. 

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