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Paula J. Dobriansky - U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council

Remarks at a Presentation on the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council

Dr. Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
Georgetown University
Washington, DC
December 4, 2006

Thank you, President DeGioia, for that kind introduction. Mrs. Bush, Secretary Chao, Ambassador and Mrs. Jawad, distinguished guests, friends, and members of the Georgetown community, thank you for being here today and participating in this event. I want to thank President DeGioia and his staff in particular for all of their efforts in organizing this special occasion.

I am delighted that Georgetown faculty, staff, and students are with us. It's great to be back on campus among so many fellow Hoyas. As President DeGioia mentioned, we have worked closely with Georgetown on a number of projects related to Afghanistan. We are especially thrilled to be able launch a new partnership between Georgetown University and the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council. The partnership will strengthen the Council's work in helping Afghan women-and indeed, all Afghans-transform their lives for the better, and will provide Georgetown University with an opportunity to apply the resources and expertise found in its various schools, centers, and institutions, to an area of such vital importance.

I am also delighted today to announce new members of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council, who will continue to contribute their great talents and dedication to its efforts. We are pleased to welcome to the Council:

* Doris Buffett, a philanthropist; * Kathleene Card, pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean; * Caroline Firestone, the Founder of the New Hudson Foundation; * Anita McBride, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Mrs. Bush; * Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, the Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross; * Catherine McIntyre, a philanthropist; * Terry Neese, President of Women Impacting Public Policy and Grassroots Impact, Inc., * Meghan O'Sullivan, Deputy National Security Advisor and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan; * Dr. Kaivon Peter Saleh, a Defense Attaché and Senior Health Advisor at the Pentagon's Afghan Reachback Office; and * Cynthia Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs at the Department of Education.

Each of these individuals has devoted time, resources and expertise to concrete projects in support of Afghan women. We are fortunate to have many of the new members with us here today. The Council has recently embarked on a number of valuable new projects, thanks in no small measure to the work of its members.

* Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, an honorary member of the Council, has launched important skills training programs to reintegrate Afghan women into the workplace, as well as projects focusing on the specialized education needs of former child soldiers. * Caroline Firestone's New Hudson Foundation is supporting a training program for community dental care workers in Kabul, as well as secretarial and culinary schools. * A $600,000 contribution from Doris Buffett helped finish the construction of a school in Kabul, assisted internally displaced people, and supported a solar paneling installation skills training project. Mrs. Buffett has also generously supported Arzu carpets and the New Hudson Foundation. * Led by Council Member Barbara Barrett, Thunderbird University's Garvin School of International Business Management graduated its second class of 15 Afghan Women Entrepreneurs through Project Artemis, an intensive business management and mentorship program. * Microsoft recently partnered with the Council to provide information technology skills training through its Unlimited Potential Program for Afghan women business owners. * TriWest Healthcare Alliance, under the leadership of David and Catherine McIntyre, recently pledged $250,000 to establish a burn victims fund to help finance travel and critical care for Afghan children being treated in the United States. This is in addition to TriWest's commitment of $1 million to support a nationwide comprehensive burn prevention and awareness program for Afghanistan. * Dr. Peter Grossman of the Grossman Burn Center, who serves on the Council's Health Committee, is continuing to provide much-needed pro bono plastic surgery services for severely burned children through the Children's Burn Foundation.

We are delighted that new Council members Doris Buffett and Caroline Firestone will also serve as new board members of the American University in Afghanistan. David Rivkin, an attorney with Baker and Hostetler, who is with us today, will serve on the University Board, as well.

In Afghanistan last year, the First Lady announced a U.S. commitment of $17.7 million to support the American University of Afghanistan, which will play a critical role in educating future Afghan leaders and fostering tolerance. This multi-year initiative will establish a University offering a curriculum of business, management, information technology, and other professional courses in English. The University's Foundation Program opened in March 2006, and there are currently 53 students enrolled. Like the American University in Beirut, the American University of Afghanistan will help promote understanding and connections between two nations and cultures.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce the Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States, Said Jawad, who embodies the spirit of friendship and cooperation between our two countries. Ambassador Jawad was educated in Kabul and Germany. In 1986, he settled in the United States, where he earned his MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and worked for a number of prominent law firms. After September 11, 2001, he returned to Afghanistan and served as President Karzai's Press Secretary, Chief of Staff, and Director of the Office of International Relations. Ambassador Jawad has served as Afghanistan's Ambassador to the United States since 2003. His wife Shamim heads up AYENDA, the Afghan Children's Initiative, a special project of the U.S-Afghan Women's Council, with Council Member Tim McBride. Ambassador and Mrs. Jawad are eloquent and tremendously effective representatives of the Afghan people. We are lucky they are here. I have had the good fortune of working closely with them on a number of issues, including the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council. Please join me in welcoming Ambassador Jawad.

Released on December 4, 2006


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