Presentation of the Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award to the Honorable Nikki R. Haley

as delivered by

Chairman of Independent Women's Forum and CEO of Independent Women's Voice

Heather R. Higgins

at the

Independent Women's Forum 2018 Annual Awards Dinner

November 14, 2018


Heather R. Higgins:

Thank you so much for that introduction.  What a wonderful night it has been and I'm so proud of this organization.  If I were Trump, this would all be filled, but this is still huge, so thank you all for being here.  

Just a little side note – for those of you who are regular attendees, we've had nearly a 50% increase in attendance for each of the last 4 years to these dinners, so that's why the venue keeps changing.  We keep outgrowing, and it's all because of you, so thank you.

IWF was founded to mentor, support, and celebrate women who embrace Conservative ideals that have improved the lives of so many, here and abroad, and have made this country great, tuned to share, defend, and promote the underlying ideas and principles that make those outcomes possible.  

IWF‘s founders believed that America is our home, and a home to be proud of.  A place of possibility, where dreams come true. They admired our Constitution, and the rule of law.  They wanted our country to offer more and better opportunities to everyone by allowing the free market solutions that really work to function.  And they understood that you foster human dignity not just with rights, but with responsibilities.  

Today IWF is making good on that mission, trying to correct misperception of the Conservative brand and show that if you care about actual outcomes, not just utopian slogans, Conservative principles are the key to a better, fairer, opportunity-rich and compassionate society.  

The Woman of Valor Award is named after one of IWF's valorous founders, Barbara Olson.  Barbara was a passionate advocate for America's founding principles.  She never backed down from a fight, but also epitomized grace and humor.  Facts and reason were always her weapons of choice.

Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is also a passionate, fearless advocate for America and our founding principles, and who does so with facts and reason wrapped in grace and humor, is a perfect recipient of the Barbara Kay Olson Woman of Valor Award.  According to the identity politics crowd, a girl named Nimrata Randhawa, if I'm pronouncing that right, born to immigrant Indian-American Sikh family, and definitely more than one one-thousand-twenty-fourth Indian, and I'm speaking as an actual Pocahontas descendant here, so I couldn't possibly rise to the highest level of leadership in our country.  

Indeed, when Nikki Haley began her first run as Governor of South Carolina against three much better-known Republican opponents, no one gave her much of a chance.  But this Sikh gave new meaning to seek and you shall find, and found herself winning a primary, a runoff, and the general election, and then being re-elected four years later.  

Ambassador Haley was both the first female and the first minority Governor of South Carolina.  When she became our permanent representative to the United Nations, there were plenty of arguments that needed to be had.  Ambassador Haley never backed down.  She has defended America's interests confidently, clearly, and with steadfast moral compass, and without apology.  What a refreshing change. Ambassador Haley hasn't just argued, she's gotten results.  

Where reform was possible, for instance, in UN peacekeeping negotiations and operations, she has led the way.  Thanks to her leadership, the UN’s peacekeeping efforts are now focused on fairness, compassion, respect, and importantly, actually achieving results.  

These changes were necessary to help ensure that UN resources, funded in large part by US taxpayers, are not misused, but actually flow to civilians in need of protection from conflict.  

In UN showdowns over everything from North Korean missiles and nuclear tests, to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Ambassador Haley stood up to Russia, China, Iran, and their cohorts.  She has called out their propaganda. She is a clarion voice for decency and truth.  Thanks to her leadership, the UN imposed the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea.  

Where the UN system improved impervious to reform, Ambassador Haley has led the way in efforts to minimize the harm.  On her watch, the US pulled out of the Orwellian Human Rights Council. That did not mean retreating from America's role as a leader of the free world, but reclaiming the real meaning of the UN’s founding principles, which Ambassador Haley did last year in hosting the first ever security council meeting dedicated entirely to the protection of human rights.  

Ambassador Haley has been a fierce defender of Israel, calling out the United Nations for its constant anti-Israel bias.  Most of all, in a forum where 193 nations contend, she has been a graceful and unyielding champion of the United States of America.  And unlike her immediate predecessor, Ambassador Haley did all this without asking for the unmasking of a single US citizen whose communications had been intercepted by our intelligence agencies.  

During her six years as Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley oversaw an unemployment rate which hit a 15-year low, a net of 85,000 new jobs – we’re not sure how many of them were dirty, but there were 85,000 new jobs – were created in South Carolina during her tenure.  Governor Haley also proposed and then signed the most sweeping education reforms in decades that all students, regardless of where they live, have access to quality education.

Ambassador Haley has been a strong, independent-minded leader who always stands up for what is right.  And I am sure I'm not alone in hoping, very much hoping, that this impressive record of success is just the beginning of all that she will accomplish.

Ambassador Haley, it is my honor to present you with IWF’s 2018 Woman of Valor Award.