The U.S. State Department has included an Afghan provincial council member and a Pakistani rights activist among the honorees for 2012 International Women Of Courage Awards.
Maryam Durani, described as "a leader and a role model for women throughout Afghanistan" and a member of Kandahar’s Provincial Council, directs a nonprofit women's cultural organization and owns and manages a local radio station focusing on women's issues.
Pakistan's Shad Begum founded the Union of Women’s Welfare, which provides political training, microcredit, education, and health services to women in the ultraconservative district of Dir, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Begum has been elected to local posts and continues to work despite calls for suicide attacks against her by extremists.
Other recipients of this year's award include women from Burma, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.