Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Bush: Education Key for Afghan Women

First Lady Laura Bush promoted education as the key to improving women’s rights and living conditions in Afghanistan during a speech yesterday in Riggs Library. Bush delivered her remarks during a meeting of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, which established a partnership with Georgetown in 2006. She noted the overall progress that has been made and the increased opportunities that have been made available, especially for Afghan women, since the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001. For instance, she noted the 75 percent increase in health care accessibility since 2001 and the 15 percent growth in the Afghan economy. Bush said the university has a vital role to play in the success of the council. “I hope that Georgetown will be the new private sector home to this council,” she said. She said that Georgetown was already making “impressive contributions” to the council’s efforts. Bush drew on American democracy and struggles for equal rights as the framework for what needs to be accomplished in Afghanistan. “All parts of a society need to contribute, both men and women,” she said. In addition, Bush said that her own experiences and discussions with women across the country have reaffirmed her belief that the council’s contributions are important and meaningful. “There is a very, very strong feeling of American women to help Afghan women . there is a sisterhood here,” she said. After Bush’s remarks, the council discussed the role of education in improving the lives of Afghan women, particularly concerning initiatives that have been launched by the council. The meeting and discussion were sponsored by the Office of the President. James Kunder, acting deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development said that in the 16 months that the American University of Afghanistan has been open, it has received overwhelming support from the council. “This council has helped to create many schools in Kabul, and has led to increased professional opportunities . including a planned law school to be opened in conjunction with Stanford University,” he said. Thomas Stauffer, president of the American University of Afghanistan, said his university is located right in the heart of Kabul’s political center, only affirming how important it is for his campus to be a model for other universities to follow. Afghan Ambassador to the United States Said Tayeb Jawad said that the council is making tangible contributions to education in Afghanistan, but that he believes all education projects must incorporate the teaching of life skills into the basic literacy curriculum. “With this in place, I think more people will come,” he said. In response to the discussion on education, Bush said she could not help but reiterate the United States’ unceasing support for Afghanistan. “There are still many challenges, those that we read about in the newspaper . But I want everyone to know how invested the United States is in Afghanistan . We’ve lost a lot of lives [there], and we really want Afghanistan to succeed,” she said.

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