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On March 21, 2012 Former First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with members of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council to celebrate the Council’s 10th Anniversary. More than 200 Americans and Afghans filled the grand Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department for the celebration. Secretary Clinton and Mrs. Bush joked that during lunch they were discussing the perks of being First Lady - one of which is the ability to champion great causes in ways that can contribute to lasting change, and that Cabinet Secretaries always take the call of the First Lady and are eager to support her work. As First Lady, Mrs. Bush served as Chair of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. Since returning to Dallas, Mrs. Bush has assumed the role of Honorary Advisor to the Council and has promoted the cause of Afghan women through her work as chair of the Women's Initiative at the Bush Institute. She is a champion for women and girls, and her deep commitment over the past ten years has helped Afghan women and girls achieve great gains. As we look back on a decade of progress, we are reminded of the unimaginable reality women faced during the years of the Taliban. When Mrs. Bush gave the historic radio address to the nation in November 2001, Americans were horrified to learn of the brutal treatment of women. When President Bush and President Karzai created the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council 10 years ago, women were not permitted to leave their homes without a male escort and girls were forbidden to attend school. Today, women are a part of the economy, serve in public office, and girls are graduating from school. As we mark a decade of notable advancement of women in Afghanistan, we are reminded that the hard-won progress must not be reversed, not only for sake of women, but for the stability and success of Afghanistan.This post was written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute and Senior Advisor to Mrs. Laura Bush
Charity N. Wallace serves as the Senior Advisor to the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute and is in an executive graduate program in pursuit of a Global Master of Arts degree in international relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Most recently, Ms. Wallace served as the Vice President of the Global Women’s Initiatives and Senior Advisor to Mrs. Laura Bush. In this role, Ms. Wallace was responsible for setting the vision and managing the policy engagement for the women’s initiatives, including Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon global health initiative, empowering women in the Middle East and working with First Ladies from around the world. The Women's Initiative aims to improve access to education, health care, and economic opportunity for women and children in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.
From February 2009 through September 2010, Wallace served as the Chief of Staff to Mrs. Laura Bush. Wallace oversaw Mrs. Bush’s initiatives - from her wide ranging policy agenda to her the publishing and promotion of Mrs. Bush’s bestselling book, Spoken from the Heart. Wallace served in the Bush Administration from January 2001 to January 2009. During her tenure in the administration, she served as Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States (2007-2009), Director of Advance for First Lady Laura Bush (2004-2007), and worked in public liaison positions in Presidential Advance, the U.S. Department of Education, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and USA Freedom Corps. During her tenure in the Bush Administration and in her current role, Wallace has traveled to 70 countries.
Ms. Wallace serves on the Board of Advisors for the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, the Advisory Board of ARZU Studio Hope, the Advisory Board of 4word Women and the Advisory Board of All In Together, an bi-partisan organization that promotes women’s engagement in political and civic life. Ms. Wallace is an ex-officio member on the Human Freedom Advisory Council for the Bush Institute. Ms. Wallace wrote the foreword for the book Work, Love, Pray, which was released in 2011. A native of California, Ms. Wallace graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, with a focus in international relations.Full Bio
What’s Happening in Afghanistan?
While there have been tremendous gains in Afghanistan, lack of security threatens these gains daily.
Q&A with Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan
Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi is a member of the national assembly of Afghanistan. She represents Badakhshan province in the Wolesi Jirga (house of representatives). Her story is one of survival, pursuit of dreams, and dedication to women’s well-being and health. Here, Dr. Ibrahimi shares her thoughts on the current state of Afghan women’s empowerment, the challenges women face in achieving equal rights, and the impact women have on the country’s long-term peace, security, and prosperity.
In Case You Missed It: The Breadwinner, an animated film about the strength and resilience of Afghan women and girls, premieres in the U.S.
The Breadwinner, a new animated film from executive producer Angelina Jolie, tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family. With dauntless perseverance, Parvana draws strength from the stories her father told her, and ultimately risks her life to discover if he is still alive. The Breadwinner is an inspiring reminder of the power of stories, and their potential to unite and heal us all. It also provides an important spotlight on the struggle endured by Afghan families during the Taliban regime and the resilience of women and girls and their influence in building a brighter future for Afghanistan. Last year, the Bush Institute released We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope, which spotlights more of these courageous stories of Afghan women. Learn more about the book and our work by visiting:&nb