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Afghanistan President Speaks to Texas Conference

February 3, 2013

In an effort to further the hard-won progress, the George W. Bush Institute convened Afghan President Hamid Karzai, business leaders, entrepreneurs and policymakers at a two-day conference, “Building Afghanistan’s Future: Promoting Women’s Freedom and Advancing Their Economic Opportunity in Dallas Texas” Former First Lady Laura Bush in her opening remarks said “Women play a vital role in the peace and prosperity of successful democracies,” and President Bush highlighted the important role that the U.S. people have played in supporting Afghanistan’s women and the Bush Center’s commitment to continuing that work.

President Karzai in a conversation via teleconference with President George W. Bush and Steve Hadley, former National Security Advisor thanked the American people for their commitment to Afghanistan and their sacrifices on behalf of the Afghan people.

President Karzai responded to a question regarding potential changes to the Afghan constitution. “There should be no doubt in our minds that there will not be any changes allowed by the Afghan people that would diminish or reduce the gains that Afghan women have made,"

President Karzai highlighted in his remarks "We will work towards a brighter future for Afghan women, who have indeed suffered because of the Taliban. They bore the brunt of the suffering in Afghanistan, and from peace they should have the maximum gain."

It was followed by the panel discussion including Ambassador Melanne Verveer; Ambassador of Global Women’s Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, and Asila Wardak, Director of Human Rights and Women’s Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, highlighting the critical need for continued advancement of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

On behalf of Ambassador Eklil Hakimi, Mrs Khojesta Ebrahimkhel the counselor of the Embassy of Afghanistan to the United States of America thanked Mrs. Bush for her endless support to the U.S-Afghan Women’s Council. She said “The U.S-Afghan Women’s Council has provided continuous support in educating and empowering the women and girls of Afghanistan. All these efforts are paving the way towards a better and sustainable future for all of Afghanistan.”

The conference also featured a small Afghan bazaar, featuring goods from many of the conference participants and other Afghan organizations.