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Embassy Hosts Female Students from Afghanistan

As part of the Embassy’s continued partnership with the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, the Embassy invited a group of female student from Afghanistan to meet with Ambassador Said T. Jawad and Embassy officials for tea on January 4. The young women were accompanied by Paula Nirschel, who has dedicated herself to helping Afghan women become young ambassadors while they are in America and entrepreneurs and educators upon their return.

The Ambassador welcomed the young women and encouraged them to take advantage of their once in a lifetime opportunity. “I wish you luck in your studies. Before you know it you will have returned to Afghanistan with cherished memories and new friends. I am hopeful that each of you will be able to contribute to our state-building process in your own unique way. I cannot wait to see what we will achieve within in a generation.”

After September 11th, Ms. Nirschel was moved by the images of Afghan women denied their right to health care, freedom, or education. She knew that a love of scholarship was not something that could be extinguished, so she chose to make a difference in the lives of Afghan women. The Initiative To Educate Afghan Women was born out of this sense of social justice. "I wanted a group of women to come to America to experience the freedom of education and to strengthen their self-worth, then return home and teach others what they learned in the United States."

Roger Williams University became the first university in the country to offer a full scholarship to a woman from Afghanistan. Four women received scholarships in 2002 and the program has since expanded to provide 30 students with an opportunity to at universities around the U.S. Ms. Nirschel hopes that these women will return to Afghanistan following their education to serve as capable professionals and personal role models. Six students from the program graduated this year from Montana, Montclair, Roger Williams University and Kennesaw.

To learn more about the Initiatve To Educate Afghan Women, please visit


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