Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson: IRI Makes a Difference for Transitioning Democracies

Washington, D.C.—Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson commended the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) work building “strong and stable democracies” as she accepted a “10 for 10” award for leadership from IRI’s Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) on October 24, 2017.

Reflecting on her previous contributions as an IRI trainer in Tunisia and South Sudan, Secretary Wilson noted the importance of working in transitioning countries. “Democracies are at the greatest risk in those intermediate stages—and it’s at that time of change that organizations like IRI make a difference.”

Presenting the award to Secretary Wilson, IRI board member Judy Black said “Secretary Wilson is proof that when you have determination, passion and a strong voice, there is no end to what you can accomplish.”

Heather Wilson is the 24th Secretary of the Air Force, overseeing the affairs of the entire branch, including its budget of more than $132 billion, strategy and policy development, weapons acquisition and risk management. Secretary Wilson has more than 35 years of leadership in the military, the private sector academia and in government, including as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1998-2009).

WDN launched the “10 for 10” campaign to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Network, launched in 2006 to increase women’s political and civic leadership globally. The “10 for 10” campaign recognizes 10 remarkable women who have demonstrated determination, passion, and a commitment to building a better world. Previous honorees include U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Belgian Member of Parliament Miet Smet and Tunisian trade union leader Wided Bouchamoui.

About the Women’s Democracy Network

Established by the International Republican Institute in 2006, the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) believes that a full and robust democracy depends on the equal participation of women. WDN empowers women around the world to participate in the political process and help them gain the skills needed to take on greater leadership roles in government, political parties and civil society. WDN connects aspiring and accomplished women leaders across the globe, creating forums for sharing ideas and experiences, providing technical training and resource materials. 

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