The award was presented to the brave young girl posthumously. None of her family members were present on the occasion. The Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao was present at the award ceremony in which eight others were presented with the award.
In a rare gesture, Kerry asked the jam packed auditorium to stand and join him in a moment of silence for 'Nirbhaya', whom he described as "brave, big heart and fearless".
"Nirbhaya's fight survives her. For inspiring people to work together to end violence against women in India and around the world by displaying immense courage in demanding justice, and with great sadness, we honour Nirbhaya as a woman of exceptional courage, and we honour her posthumously," the Secretary of State said at the function presided over by the US First Lady, Michelle Obama.