I love sharing my passion for sailing with others. And, even more, I love seeing the smiles on new sailors when we turn off the engine and they first soak in the freshness of the breeze and how all their worldly troubles are just blown away with that breeze.
I recently had the opportunity to share that experience with the 2018 winner of the International Woman of Courage Award, Dr. Feride Rushiti from Kosovo. This award, given by the US Secretary of State, recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, and women's empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. Dr. Rushiti, pictured here driving the boat, is the founder and executive director of the Kosovo Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims. Through her nearly two decades of research and advocacy, she has secured access to healthcare and justice for civilian victims, often victims of sexual violence, of Kosovo's 1998-1999 war.
Dr. Rushiti, who arrived in Pensacola via Washington DC just an hour before our sail, was very friendly, down to earth, and modest about her accomplishments. Although she traveled with two interpreters, she spoke enough English (and I spoke no Albanian!) for us to share a great day on the water, simply by sharing the fresh air and our smiles.
I am honored and excited to have spent the day with not only Dr. Rushiti, but also a few other new friends. A champagne toast was the perfect complement to a great day on the water.