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Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award 


About the Award

The Deborah Harding Woman of Achievement Award honors Peace Corps women whose contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of women and girls in the world. Awardees are recognized in a public ceremony in October.

Who is Deborah Harding?

Dr. Deborah Harding was the founder of the Liberian Education Trust, a transition initiative to help rebuild the education system destroyed by a 14-year civil war. The Trust brought access to education for thousands of Liberian girls and market women. She was Co-Founder of the Network for Human Rights in Liberia in the mid-80s. In 2013 President Johnson Sirleaf awarded Debbie “Dame Grand Commander Humane Order of African Redemption” for her support to the Liberian nation.  Debbie undertook assuring gender equality in recruitment and placement of Peace Corps Volunteers and of hiring staff in the mid 70s. She established the Women in Development Program at the Peace Corps and had its language included in the Peace Corps Act. She is a founding member of Women of Peace Corps Legacy (WPCL).

Watch our 2023 award ceremony


2023 Award Recipient Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

Women of Peace Corps Legacy is pleased to honor Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley as the 2023 winner of the Deborah Harding Woman of Achievement Award. 

Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley has had a pathbreaking career in the Foreign Service and has created new opportunities and possibilities for women and minorities. She served with the Peace Corps in Oman, was the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia, advised U.S. Cyber Forces on diplomatic priorities, and served as U.S. ambassador to Malta. Recently she served as the State Department’s first ‘Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Officer, before leadership of the Middle EAst Policy Council. She is known for championing accomplished women for senior leadership positions in national security and foreign policy.

In her own words, ‘We are the messengers of what Peace Corps is and can be. We pay it forward by joining and we gain so much from the experience. Then we pay it back by inspiring the next generations of Volunteers. Because Peace Corps is made stronger with the experiences from a diverse cohort of Volunteers, and America made better with the contributions of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.’


Nomination Requirements

Nominees must be women with an acknowledged connection to Peace Corps. This includes: Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and/or current or former Peace Corps Staff (U.S. direct hire or contractor).

  • Nominees must have made or be making significant and lasting impact in the lives of women and girls. This can be widely interpreted to include all the different areas where one can have an impact – health, education, the environment, mentoring, sports, economic empowerment etc.
  • Nominations must be supported with concrete examples that demonstrate the scope and long-term impact of the nominees' efforts to benefit women and girls in 800 words or less.
  • The nominee must be living.
  • WPCL recommends that you keep your nomination confidential in case your nominee is not selected.

Submissions Open

We are accepting nominations now through June 15, 2024!

Nominate Here

Evaluation Process

1. The evaluation committee will be  determined by the Women of Peace Corps Legacy Awards Committee co-chairs.

2. All nominees will be evaluated against other candidate submissions.

3. Nominations will be reviewed for the unique and significant contributions of the nominees, scope or reach of their work, and their impact on women and girls.

4. Nominations will be accepted between February 15 and June 15, 2024.

5. The award will be made to one individual and will be presented at a special awards ceremony every year in October.