Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 14, 2013

Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will present the 2012 Human Rights Defenders Award to Ms. Hanadi Zahlout on Friday, November 15, 2013, at 10 a.m. in the Treaty Room at the U.S. Department of State.

Ms. Zahlout has fought for freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights in Syria since before the revolution. She participated in one of the first large-scale demonstrations against the regime in 2011 and early on worked closely with the leadership of the Local Coordinating Committees, an integral part of the Syrian opposition infrastructure. Ms. Zahlout continues to link grassroots activists inside Syria with prominent members of the opposition in exile, as well as international media outlets, to call for a peaceful democratic transition and make abuses in Syria known to the outside world. She actively mentors and arranges training opportunities for young Syrian journalists, who are critical to the future of Syria. Zahlout, an Alawi, has focused her efforts on reaching out to women and Syrian minorities and stresses the contributions Syrian women have made to efforts for a peaceful democratic transition in Syria.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Uzra Zeya will preside over the award ceremony, which is open to the press. English interpretation of Ms. Zahlout’s remarks in Arabic will be provided.

To request an interview with Ms. Zahlout after the event or for more information about the Department’s Human Rights Defenders Award, please contact Aaron Jensen at or (202) 647-0516.

Final access time for press is 9:30 a.m. at the 23rd Street entrance, and set up in room by 9:45 a.m. Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport). Please rsvp to:

PRN: 2013/1413