WEI Founder Honored With Human Rights Award

Stephanie Ortoleva standing at a podium, to the right of a large screen presenting her photo and stating "2023 Perdita Huston Honoree".

Stephanie Ortoleva, an international human rights lawyer and founder of Women Enabled International (WEI), a longtime Channel grantee partner, was honored with the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) 2023 Perdita Huston Human Rights Award.

After graduating with a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law, Ortoleva worked as a human rights officer at the U.S. Department of State where she served on several U.S. Government Delegations focusing on disability and women’s rights. With encouragement from her parents and professors, Ortoleva went on to found WEI in 2012. WEI remains the “only international organization dedicated to advancing human rights at the intersection of gender and disability.”

UNA-NCA presented the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award at their annual Human Rights Award Ceremony on December 6th, 2023. This year’s ceremony marked the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ceremony was dedicated to celebrating individuals and organizations “who are working to improve human rights in their communities and around the world.” Ortoleva accepted the award with a speech highlighting the importance of inclusion within human rights work.