Melania Trump advocates for female empowerment at 'Women of Courage' Awards

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First lady Melania Trump declared that now is "the time for empowering women around the world" during her special remarks at the International Women of Courage Awards on Wednesday.

An annual State Department event, the awards ceremony celebrates courageous efforts advocating for women's equality, social progress and human rights -- often in the face of immense personal risk. As this year's "special guest," President Trump's wife gave brief remarks and presented each honoree with their award.

Melania Trump spoke of the award recipients, saying they are "remarkable and inspiring women who have given so much for so many, regardless of the unimaginable threat to their own personal safety."

RELATED: Melania Trump presents at International Women of Courage Awards

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Melania Trump presents at International Women of Courage Awards
First lady Melania Trump smiles while speaking at the 2017 Secretary of State?s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award ceremony at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. first lady Melania Trump attends the 2017 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
First lady Melania Trump presents Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh of Syria with the 2017 Secretary of State?s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award during a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
With her face bearing the scars of an acid attack, Natalia Ponce de Leon stands with first lady Melania Trump after being recognized at the 2017 Secretary of State?s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award ceremony at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. first lady Melania Trump presents the 2017 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award to Veronica Simogun of Papua New Guinea March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. first lady Melania Trump presents the 2017 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award to Saadet Ozkan of Turkey March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. first lady Melania Trump presents the 2017 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award to Fadia Najib-Thabet who is from Yemen March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. first lady Melania Trump presents the 2017 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award to Sharmin Akter of Bangladesh March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. first lady Melania Trump presents the 2017 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award to Jannat Al Ghezi of Iraq March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
First Lady Melania Trump honors International Women of Courage during a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC, March 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
First Lady Melania Trump holds a plaque as she honors International Women of Courage during a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC, March 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. first lady Melania Trump attends the 2017 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. The award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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"Each one of these heroic women has an extraordinary story of courage which must inspire each of us to also achieve more than we had ever imagined possible," said the first lady. "Their lives remind us of the boundless capacity of the human spirit, when guided by moral clarity and desire to do good."

A total 13 women received the recognition of courage this year, all but one of whom were present at Wednesday's event.

Two women honored during the ceremony -- human rights activist Fadia Najib Thabet of Yemen and Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh of Syria -- are from countries temporarily banned under President Trump's second executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority nations to the U.S.

Here's the full list of honorees:

- Sharmin Akter, Activist Against Early/ Forced Marriage, Bangladesh
- Malebogo Molefhe, Human Rights Activist, Botswana
- Natalia Ponce de Leon, President, Natalia Ponce de Leon Foundation, Colombia
- Rebecca Kabugho, Political and Social Activist, Democratic Republic of Congo
- Jannat Al Ghezi, Deputy Director of The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
- Major Aichatou Ousmane Issaka, Deputy Director of Social Work at the Military Hospital of Niamey, Niger
- Veronica Simogun, Director and Founder, Family for Change Association, Papua New Guinea
- Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, Lawyer and Founder of Not One Woman Less, Peru
- Sandya Eknelygoda, Human Rights Activist, Sri Lanka
- Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Member, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), Syria
- Saadet Ozkan, Educator and Gender Activist, Turkey
- Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Blogger and Environmental Activist, Vietnam
- Fadia Najib Thabet, Human Rights Activist, Yemen

Melania Trump hosted a White House luncheon earlier this month on International Women's Day, and spearheaded the reopening of White House tours as part of her platform as first lady.

The former model-turned-first lady has kept a relatively low profile since her husband took his oath of office as president. Melania and son, Barron, continue to maintain their permanent residence at their Manhattan penthouse in New York, although reports continue to confirm the pair will move into the White House this summer after Barron finishes school this year.

Melania Trump has also been seen spending weekends with the president at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

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Born Melanija Knavs

Originally Melanija Knavs, Melania Trump was born April 20, 1970 in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. Born to a car dealer and children's clothing designer, she grew up in a modest home in a community then part of communist Yugoslavia. Melania has a younger sister and older half brother, whom her father had from a previous relationship.

Pictured: Taken in 1977, this image shows Melania, 7, (second from the right) attending a fashion review at the textile company where her mother was employed.

Began modeling at age 16. 

In her early days of modeling, Trump worked in Milan and Paris, before moving to New York in 1996.

Pictured: Melania Knauss during Fred Trump's Funeral at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.

The Clintons attended their wedding.

In 2005, Melania and Donald married in a Palm Beach, Florida ceremony. Shaquille O'Neal, Kelly Ripa, Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric and both President Bill Clinton and then-U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton were in attendance.

Pictured: Donald and Melania sit courtside before a 2001 Toronto Raptors game.

Melania and Donald have a son, Barron.

On March 20, 2006, Melania gave birth to her and Donald's son, Barron William Trump. He is often referred to as "The Little Donald."

Donald holds a replica of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as Melania holds their son Barron in Los Angeles in 2007.

She spoke at the Republican National Convention.

On July 18, Melania addressed delegates on the first day of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The soon-to-be first lady was quickly criticized, though, when it became clear parts of her speech were identical to that of First lady Michelle Obama in 2008.

She cares about bullying.

On November 3, Melania Trump gave her first solo campaign speech for her husband in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, saying she would work to combat bullying as first lady. "Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers," she said, noting that kids are often hurt when they are "made to feel less in looks or intelligence."

She said she wants to be "true to herself" as first lady.

On November 11, President-elect Trump and his family -- including Melania -- appeared on 60 Minutes in their first post-election television interview. In the interview, Melania opened up to Lesley Stahl about staying true to herself, meeting Michelle Obama at the White House and how she hopes to raise son, Barron, as they transition to life as the first family.

Melania and Barron will stay in New York for the time being.

On November 20, Trump transition team sources said that Melania and 10-year-old son, Barron, are expected to spend most of their time in New York at least through spring of 2017. The team offered keeping Barron in his Upper West Side private school as reasoning for their staying in New York.

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