George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute Commemorates a Decade of Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls

March 9, 2023


This Thursday, March 9, The George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute (GWI) will commemorate a decade of research and action in preventing violence against women and girls around the world while shining a light on the important work of individuals championing women’s rights.

At the event, GWI will bestow a Champions for Justice Award on a number of women’s human rights defenders in honor of their efforts to end violence against women and girls. These include Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who will deliver keynote remarks, for her contributions to the gender justice field; several recently freed political prisoners from Nicaragua, all of whom spent years in prison as a result of their defense of women’s rights and liberties in the Central American country; and Brisa De Angulo, a sexual violence survivor and the founder of A Breeze of Hope, for her continued defense of child sexual assault victims in Latin America. De Angulo secured a recent success in the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, which required that Bolivia rewrite its sexual violence laws.


  • Dr. Mary Ellsberg, Founding Director of the Global Women’s Institute at GW
  • Dr. Mark Wrighton, President of the George Washington University [Opening Remarks]
  • Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, U.S. Congresswoman [Keynote Speaker, Award Recipient]
  • Ex-Political Prisoners from Nicaragua [Award Recipients]
  • Brisa De Angulo, Founder of A Breeze of Hope [Award Recipient]
  • Zinhle Essamuah, NBC News Reporter and GWU Alumna [Moderator]


Jack Morton Auditorium

The George Washington University

805 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052

Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Blue, Orange and Silver lines)

In addition to being held in-person, the event will be livestreamed bilingually. Virtual attendees may join here (for English speakers) or here (for Spanish speakers).



Thursday, March 9, 2023

3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET (doors to the auditorium open at 3:15 p.m. ET)



Media interested in attending must contact Julia Metjian at [email protected]. When RSVPing, please indicate whether you will require a seat or camera location.



At the George Washington University, GWI advances the crucial mission of ensuring gender equality around the world. As a leading global research institution on violence against women and girls, including in conflict and humanitarian settings, GWI supports, uplifts, and documents the work of women’s movements to end gender-based violence globally. The institute convenes world-class faculty, researchers, practitioners, activists, donors, and policymakers to focus on the most critical issues facing women and girls today.

Dr. Mary Ellsberg, founding director of the George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute (GWI), has spent decades conducting groundbreaking research on violence against women and girls (VAWG)  around the world and, through the work of GWI and its partners, developing evidence-based programs that successfully prevent VAWG. In Nicaragua, findings from a first-ever prevalence study Ellsberg conducted in 1995 was instrumental in changing domestic violence laws and led to other reforms in the Central American country. A follow-up study 20 years later found that domestic violence in Nicaragua had been reduced by half. According to Ellsberg:

“People often think of violence [against women and girls] as something that will always be with us, that it is inevitable. But our research shows that this is not true. Violence is actually preventable.”

Heading into its 10th year, the Institute now leads the world’s largest ever, multi-year, global research consortium to study and upscale effective ways to prevent gender-based violence in a variety of settings, an initiative funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO).