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Afghan Women Judges and Lawyers Complete Trip to U.S.

A delegation of Afghan women judges and lawyers wrapped up a two-week visit to the U.S. on January 23 with a visit to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During their visit, which took place under the auspices of the U.S. State Department's Public-Private Partnership Justice Reform in Afghanistan program, the 14 judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys participated in legal seminars and roundtable discussions in both California and Washington, D.C.

Starting on January 9, the women traveled to Riverside, California, where they participated in a number of events aimed at exploring current topics in the Afghan and American legal systems, legal decision-making and mediation, domestic violence, and family, mental health, and narcotics law, while gaining hands-on exposure to the American judicial system. They continued these seminars and discussions in Washington, D.C., where they also met with prominent members of the legal community and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. While in Washington they attended a reception hosted by Ambassador Said T. Jawad at the Embassy of Afghanistan.

During their meeting with Secretary Clinton, she praised the women for their work. "Your American friends greatly admire your bravery and courage," said Secretary Clinton. "It is your work in the tough environment of Afghanistan for women lawyers that will bring real reform and the rule of law to the Afghan people. As President Obama made clear yesterday in his first foreign policy announcement, we are committed to supporting your efforts to bring security and stability to your country."

The trip was coordinated and led by former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Dr. Kerry Healey, and United States District Judge Stephen G. Larson of the Central District of California. Launched in December 2007 by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Public-Private Partnership has received pledges exceeding $1.3 million in monetary and in-kind contributions to launch initiatives related to justice reform in Afghanistan.

Related News: Secretary Hillary R. Clinton Meets Afghan Women Lawyers

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