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Embassy Hosts Dinner for U.S.-Afghan Women's Council

The Embassy of Afghanistan hosted a dinner for members and supporters of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council on December 18, capping off a busy day that included a video teleconference with First Lady Laura Bush and a reception with President George W. Bush and the First Lady.

At the dinner, Ambassador Said T. Jawad and Mrs. Shamim Jawad, a member of the council and founder of the Ayenda Foundation, presented Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky with a handmade Afghan shawl as a gift for her consistent support of the council. Under Secretary Dobriansky, who co-chairs the council, and Special Advisor Kate Friedrich have worked closely with the council to marshall public and private resources for programs to benefit Afghan women. In brief remarks Ambassador Jawad recognized them for their dedication to the council and its projects.

Under Secretary Dobriansky thanked members of the council for their work and read a letter of support from Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, who pledged to support the work of the council. "As the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council comes together at the White House, please convey my appreciation and congratulations on the important work they have done on behalf of Afghan women and their valiant efforts to rebuild their country," she wrote.

"Please convey my appreciation also to First Lady Laura Bush for her leadership and to Georgetown University for assuming its new leadership role on behalf of the council," she continued. "Since its inception in January of 2002, the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council has had an impressive record of achievement through its education, health, and private sector initiatives. As First Lady, and as United States Senator, working with these courageous, dedicated, and indefatigable women has been a great source of personal satisfaction and pride. Their efforts are more important than ever before, and worthy of our support. With best wishes, I am sincerely yours, Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Members and supporters of the council that attended the dinner included Jim Kunder, Acting Deputy Administator of USAID; Timothy McBride, co-chair of the Ayenda Foundation; Patricia Mitchell, President and CEO of the Museum of Television and Radio; Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and advisor to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign; Dina Powell, Managing Director for Corporate Engagement at Goldman Sachs; Terry Neese, President of the Institute of Economic Empowerment for Women; Ambassador Esther Coopersmith; actor and philanthropist Jeff Fahey and Leslie Schwietzer, Senior Trade Advisor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S.-Afghan Women's Council was created in 2002 by President Bush and President Hamid Karzai. Since its creation it has directed over $120 million from public and private sources to initiatives to benefit Afghan women in the areas of education, health, micro-finance and job training. The council will soon move to its permanent home at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Related News: Video Teleconference by Mrs. Bush with Afghan Entrepreneurs

                      Press Availability by Mrs. Bush after Video Teleconference

                      Reception in Honor of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council

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