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The 2020 Women on the Move Awards (WOMA) brought together a selection of previous winners to share their journeys, reflect on their successes, and inspire us to imagine a better future for everyone.

Held to coincide with International Women’s Day, Women on the Move: The Greatest Hits featured Rossana Leal, Woman of the Year 2019; Joon Lynn Goh, Champion Award winner in 2016 with Citizens UK; Mariam Yusuf, Woman of the Year 2016; and Florence Kahuro and Veeca Smith Uka, joint award winners in 2018. 

They were joined by Geeta Nanda, chief executive of Metropolitan Thames Valley, a housing organisation which funded this year’s ceremony.


In addition to a panel discussion lead by BBC journalist and broadcast Samira Ahmed, the event featured a screening of a short film exploring the impact of the awards on previous winners and the incredible progress they’ve since made. Publishing books, standing as candidates in local elections, completing doctoral studies, speaking at global conferences and in parliament, and establishing new organisations, these women have gone on to achieve remarkable things all while continuing to improve lives via their diverse projects, advocacy initiatives, and campaigns.


Held at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the annual WOW-Women of the World Festival, the event also featured a speech by WOW Founder and Director Jude Kelly, and a performance by UK soul singer Vanessa Freeman. 




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In 2018 Women on the Move Awards celebrated a young Egyptian Refugee campaigning for education access, and two women championing the rights of vulnerable families in asylum accommodation in Halifax.

Presented by Migrants Organise in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the 2018 awards ceremony took place on March 9th at London’s Southbank Centre. Now in its seventh year, the Awards aim to recognise and celebrate the inspirational leadership and exceptional contributions of migrant and refugee women to UK society.

Hosted by the BBC journalist Samira Ahmed, the awards were presented by the actor Gwendoline Christine (Star Wars, Game of Thrones); Jude Kelly, CBE, artistic director of the Southbank Centre and founder of WOW – Women of the World; the BBC’s Nick Guthrie; and Laura Padoan from UNHCR. Acclaimed British singer-songwriter Laura Mvula performed at the ceremony.



In 2019, the Women on the Move Awards celebrated Rossana Leal, a former Chilean refugee, for her pioneering work to bring together a community of more than 100 East Sussex locals with newly arrived refugees. Her award was presented by actor and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Redgrave, who met with Chilean refugees fleeing Argentina in the 1970s. 


Zamira Abassanova, a young peacebuilder from Azerbaijan, was also recognised for her work to support refugee entrepreneurs, as was doctor Jessica Potter, for her multi-faceted work advocating for equal access to healthcare for all. Journalist Amelia Gentleman was celebrated for her extensive coverage of the Windrush Scandal and hostile environment.

Presented by Migrants Organise in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the 2019 awards ceremony was held at London’s Southbank Centre on March 8th. The awards were hosted by BBC journalist Samira Ahmed and presented by Jude Kelly, CBE, artistic director of the WoW-Women of the World Festival and WoW Foundation; Nick Guthrie, BBC executive producer and editor; Laura Padoan from UNHCR; and Chrisann Jarrett, founder of the Let Us Learn campaign for equal access to higher education for young people. The ceremony was opened by interpretative dance troupe South Coast Collabo, whose performance was inspired by the story of Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian refugee who survived after the boat she was on capsized while crossing the Mediterranean.

Founded in 2012, the awards aim to counter xenophobic narratives around migration, by instead highlighting the vital contributions that refugee and migrant women make to communities across the country.

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