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4 women changing the world

A celebration of International Women's Day.

By Rich_Maloof Mar 8, 2013 8:28PM

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Daily Dose is recognizing four women who are making the world a better place through their extraordinary actions and influence.

Queen Noor: Humanitarian

Born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in the United States, Queen Noor married the king of Jordan in 1978. She quickly became a positive force for promoting cross-cultural understanding among nations of the Middle East and for advancing Arab-Western relations. Queen Noor has had a profound influence on humanitarian efforts addressing poverty, intolerance, displaced refugees and sustainable development. She is a co-founder of Global Zero, which champions the reduction of nuclear weapons arsenals, and president of the education movement United World Colleges.

Photo: Maryam Durani / Jewel Samad/Getty ImagesMaryam Durani: Rights advocate

The Kandahar Province is one of the most conservative and dangerous regions in Afghanistan. That’s where Maryam Durani owns and manages a radio station dedicated to the rights of Afghan women and girls. Despite several attempts on her life, Durani has loudly and visibly advocated for the civil rights of all Afghans as a member Kandahar’s Provincial Council and director of the the Khadija Kubra Women’s Association for Culture. In March of 2012, Durani (pictured here) was presented with the International Women of Courage award from Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

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Aung San Suu Kyi: Opposition leader

Returning to her native Myanmar (also known as Burma) in 1988 after studying abroad, Aung San Suu Kyi initiated a nonviolent movement protesting the rule of dictator U Ne Win — and was promptly placed under arrest. Suu Kyi was in custody for 15 years and intermittently under house arrest until 2010. But her peaceful efforts to advance a democratic government against a brutal military regime, which helped earn her a Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest in 1991, were never quashed. Her National League for Democracy has just launched a historic conference as the opposition party makes a bid for governing in 2015.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Activist and politician

Born in Somalia, Ayaan Hirsi Ali was forced into hiding after writing the screenplay for the short film "Submission," which was critical of Islam. Theo van Gogh, the Dutch director of the film, was assassinated. Hirsi Ali is a rights activist, writer and politician who has drawn the ire of Muslim extremists with her outspoken views on women’s liberties and atheism. As described in the memoir "Infidel," she has faced repeated death threats for her views and activism. Hirsi Ali currently lives in the United States. In 2007, she and her supporters established the AHA Foundation “to help protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture.”

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Photo: Maryam Durani / Jewel Samad/Getty Images


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