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U.S.-Afghan Women's Council Partners with Georgetown University

Georgetown University hosted First Lady Laura Bush, Ambassador Said T. Jawad and Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky on December 4 in a ceremony inaugurating a new partnership between Georgetown and the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council. In the next two years the council will transition from the State Department to Georgetown with the aim of becoming a sustainable institution independent from the federal government. With the support of Georgetown, the council will expand its work to empower Afghan women through educational opportunities, skills training, improving political and legal participation, and access to medical care.

“In Afghanistan, courageous men and women are working every single day to build a stable and a democratic society for themselves,” the First Lady told a group of students, faculty and sponsors in Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall. She informed the audience that more than 7 million Afghans have access to health care and 6 million Afghan children, including 2 million girls, now go to school.

“Especially impressive are the strides made by the women of Afghanistan.  Afghan women now serve as government ministers and lead as provincial governors. Women are now reclaiming their place with men at the center of Afghan society,” she said.

Ambassador Jawad spoke about the ways that Afghan society has been revitalized in the last five years. He informed the audience that, “Today, Afghans enjoy more political, economic and social rights than at any time in the history of our country.” Ambassador Jawad thanked the First Lady, Georgetown, the United States and the international community for their contribution to helping Afghans realized their decades-long dream of a secure, democratic Afghanistan.  “Like a precious Afghan embroidery, many hands and different colored thread are working together to restore the fabric of our society,” he said.

The announcement of Georgetown’s partnership with the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council is the culmination of a long history of friendship inaugurated by President Karzai’s visit to Georgetown’s campus in January 2002. Georgetown University has shown its commitment to Afghanistan by creating fellowships for Afghan students and organizing several conferences in Washington, London and Kabul. “We view the entire global community as one human family with whom we strive to be in solidarity,” said Georgetown president John J. DeGioia.

Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky commented on the council’s current projects and announced a number of new members.

The U.S.-Afghan Women's Council is a bi-national Council of Americans and Afghans that meets semi-annually to address the status of Afghan women in the economic, education, health, political and judicial sectors. Education and health care initiatives sponsored by the council have brought teachers and children into Afghan schools and health workers into communities. The council was established by U.S. President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in January 2002 to promote private-sector and government involvement in rehabilitating women and families scarred by years of war, widowhood and oppression by the Taliban.

To read the full text of remarks by First Lady Laura Bush, click here

To read the full text of remarks by Ambassador Said T. Jawad, click here


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