For the first time in Belize, a woman has been awarded the United States Secretary of State Women in Public Service Award. This award which was launched earlier this year by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is basically a training colloquium which is an academic conference looking to bring together policy makers, academics and women leaders from all over the world. The recipient of the award is the Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission and Political Aspirant for the UDP Caribbean Shores, Ann-Marie Williams. In an interview this morning, Williams spoke with reporters about the award.

Ann Marie Williams – Recipient, US Secretary of State Women in Public Service Award
“My nomination came from the US Ambassador Vinai Thumallapally himself and over 200 women were actually selected from all over the world and I was told that only 50 from that 200 and odd would be chosen and I am happy to know that I am one of that 50. Among the group of women chosen they are from all over world, it’s an opportunity for women to come together to do training in political leadership, in public service, to actually do speaking engagements. My trip begins in San Francisco which is an international leadership programme, we will be travelling to various cities in the United States and it will culminate with the training colloquium in Washington DC on December 15; that will take me in Washington with all these women and the colloquium will actually be chaired by the US Secretary of State herself, Hillary Clinton and for me that is a great opportunity to meet her because she is one of the women that I really admire.”

Williams says she is honored to be the only woman in Belize to be nominated and to have been picked on of the fifty out of two hundred nominees.

Ann Marie Williams – Recipient, US Secretary of State Women in Public Service Award
“I was and still is very humbled and appreciative, I never thought it would happen because it is a first for Belize, the award was just launched in 2011 and to have been nominated I would really like to thank the Ambassador and his staff for the tremendous confidence they have placed in me having looked afar and a little bit up close at my work and to know that I could have been nominated. It all started with the fact that they were confident enough I had what they felt it took to be among these prestigious women so I am really looking forward to the opportunity, see what are some of the things that they are doing in their respective countries that we can learn from here that certainly I can bring back. Need I add that it is a very timely thing, it is at a time when I am trying to become the standard bearer for the Caribbean Shores constituency, what a great opportunity to meet these women and to network and to actually build bridges that we can actually use here.”

When asked if this venture will help prepare her even better in her candidacy, Williams said that every opportunity for training is a great opportunity for preparation and that it will certainly benefit her but she will use this new knowledge to benefit the wider community and by extension, the country.