Advocacy Awards: Afghanistan

May 17, 2022

Refugees International’s Advocacy Awards is an annual ceremony and celebration to honor individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment to humanitarian action and the promotion of human rights. The 2022 Advocacy Awards focused on the displacement and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

After decades of conflict, the U.S. military withdrawal, and the Taliban seizure of power, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been forcibly displaced, adding to the millions who were already displaced in the region. More than 20 million Afghans are predicted to be food insecure this year.

Our dinner and powerful program highlighted leaders who have been instrumental in evacuating, rescuing, and resettling Afghans at risk.


Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State

McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award

Hillary Rodham Clinton has spent five decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and presidential candidate. Though not widely publicized, Secretary Clinton fundraised and chartered planes to evacuate women at high risk, targeted by the Taliban for their leadership and activism. Secretary Clinton also urged the Prime Minister of Albania to accept thousands of refugees and connected with other world leaders to call attention to the humanitarian crisis. Refugees International presented Secretary Clinton with the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award for her powerful determination to evacuate Afghan women at risk and her ongoing commitments to their wellbeing and human rights.

Roshan Mashal

Exceptional Service Award

Roshan Mashal is a journalist and women’s rights activist from Kabul, Afghanistan. For more than a decade she has worked to advance women’s access to education and political participation by serving as a teacher, journalist, and member of the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), of which she is now Deputy Director. Mrs. Mashal and her family evacuated Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul in 2021, where she continues her work with AWN and serves as a visiting scholar and fellow at the University of Texas at Arlington. Refugees International presented Mrs. Mashal with the Exceptional Service Award for her unwavering dedication to advancing human rights and educational opportunities for women and Afghanistan.

Mahbouba Seraj

Exceptional Service Award

Mahbouba Seraj is an activist and leader for the women’s rights movement in Afghanistan. In 2003, after 26 years in exile, Ms. Seraj returned to Afghanistan to work on behalf of women and girls in the country. She is a co-founder of the Afghan Women’s Network, through which she has made the participation of Afghan women in high-level peace negotiations one of her priorities. Ms. Seraj is currently the Executive Director of the Afghan Women Skills Development Center. In 2021, Ms. Seraj was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People. In January 2022, she briefed the UN Security Council on the situation of women’s rights in Afghanistan, as well as the humanitarian crisis, and the rapidly deteriorating state of the Afghan economy.

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Founders Circle

Maureen White and Steven Rattner


Elizabeth and Michael Galvin


Nina and Dino Saglimbeni

Cheryl Feigenson and Jeffrey Tindell

Jan Weil and Amos Avgar in honor of Eric Schwartz and his leadership of Refugees International



Irfan Kathwari Foundation

Frederica and George Valanos

Eileen Shields-West and Robin West




Joy Lian Alferness and Jonathan Alferness

Darcy Bacon

Maxine Isaacs

Alexia and Rod von Lipsey, UBS Private Wealth Management


Sarah Hogate Bacon

Shu-Ping Chan and Jana Mason

Tatiana Maxwell

Darya and Vali Nasr

Catherine Graham and Eric Schwartz

Warner Bros. Discovery


Marianne Gimon d’Ansembourg and Alessandro d’Ansembourg

Diane and Michael Hawkins

Kathleen and Chris Matthews

Grace and Daniel Melrod

Kiyoshi Nakasaka

Liz Stern