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The Embassy of Afghanistan hosts Washington Insiders

for Power Breakfast

 

The Embassy of Afghanistan served as a beautiful backdrop to the Institute for Education’s (IFE) most recent INFO breakfast gathering.  The event, which convenes regularly all over Washington brings together representatives from the city’s most powerful sectors and gives insiders a chance to network, compare notes on political developments of the week, and enjoy breakfast, as well as each other’s company.

His Excellency Ambassador Said Jawad played the role of host well, and welcomed the crowd of early risers with pastries, coffee and an up to the minute briefing on the latest situation on the ground in Afghanistan.   

This is a crucial time in the history of Afghanistan and the United States that will test our determination to fight a brutal enemy, terrorism in Afghanistan, and work for regional stability and global security,” he told the crowd which included many faces familiar to the international arena.  Among the attendees included former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, His Excellency Béla Szombati the Ambassador of Hungry, His Excellency Gary Doer the Ambassador of Canada, and Her Excellency Claudia Fritsche Ambassador of the Principality of Liechtenstein, as well as members of some of Washington’s non-government organizations and media members. 

The IFE INFO Roundtables were begun in 1992 by Kathy Kemper and were designed to bring influential leaders together to speak on issues of public policy.   The event on October 29, 2009 included some early morning discussion surrounding events which had unfolded days earlier, including the crash of an American chopper in Afghanistan in which 18 Americans, including 3 Drug Enforcement Agents died.   The gravity of the situation overseas was not lost on the ambassador.  “This week was a particularly hard week,” Jawad told the group. 

Washington, DC is home to a multitude of breakfast gatherings, but IFE’s INFO Roundtable is notable for its speakers and its diverse and authoritative audience members.    

The ambassador’s remarks were followed by a question and answer session, including some very timely questions regarding Afghanistan’s upcoming second round of elections, just weeks away.   “The first round of the Afghan election was not a perfect process…” the ambassador explained.  “Now, we will have a run off on November 7th. We hope that all partners—the US, NATO, the UN, NGOs and the media are accomplishing this difficult task.”

The IFE events are also “…intimate, typically involving just 30 to 40 participants, offering the means for much-needed cross-pollination between groups of people who share common interests but move in very diverse circles.”  But unlike so many similar events in Washington, however, the IFE breakfasts attendees are assured their remarks will be kept off the official record, which is sometimes important when power players are trying to set the record straight. 

Ambassador Jawad shared some newly released statistics which he explained indicates some important realities.  “The perception here in the media does not meet the reality in Afghanistan,” he said.   “According to the Asia Foundation Survey, 71% of people support the performance of the Afghan Government in the national level and 75% at the provincial level. 91% of people think that ANA is honest and fair, 83% have a very positive view of the ANP, despite its shortfall. “ 

The early morning forums really give everyone a chance to speak freely, make friends and, perhaps, even move mountains.   You never know what might happen when Washington insiders get an early start on the day.     

 

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