State Department Honors NED Partner with International Women of Courage Award

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 4: First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken present Ajna Jusić of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the International Women of Courage Award during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on March 4, 2024, in Washington, DC. Twelve women and one group received awards for international activism work. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Washington D.C.On March 4th, the State Department honored Ajna Jusić—founder and president of Forgotten Children of War Association (Zaboravljena djeca rata), a partner of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Bosnia and Herzegovina—with the prestigious 2024 International Women of Courage Award.  

“Ajna Jusić and her organization have worked tirelessly to advocate for children born from wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Assia Ivantcheva, senior director for Europe at NED. “ZDR’s work provides them with legal rights and empowers them to rise from the shadow of war. NED is proud to support Ajna and her organization in advancing restorative justice for victims and promoting reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” 

The Forgotten Children of War Association (ZDR) is the first organization in the Western Balkans to advocate for children born as a result of sexual violence during the wars in the region. These children are often unrecognized by the state and stigmatized by society. In 2023, Jusić and her organization successfully advocated for Bosnia and Herzegovina to pass a law that grants special rights and increased protections for these children born of wartime sexual violence, the first such law in the world. ZDR has also provided assistance to victims of other conflicts, notably in Rwanda and Ukraine. 

Established in 2007, the International Women of Courage Awards honor women from around the world who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership to bring about positive change in their communities, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. The 2024 IWOC award ceremony was held at the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken presenting the awards. Other 2024 IWOC honorees included extraordinary Women leaders, advocates, and activists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Ecuador, The Gambia, Iran, Japan, Morocco, and Uganda. 

Read more about NED’s support for women’s groups around the world.  


Christine Bednarz, Director of Communications,; +1-202-200-6872