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Hopeful Signs in the Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan
Today, NATO members released the Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan providing hope for the women of Afghanistan. The statement in paragraph five reinforces the equality of men and women: “The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan confirms its resolve to deliver on its commitment to a democratic society, based on the rule of law and good governance, including progress in the fight against corruption, where the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, including the equality of men and women and the active participation of both in Afghan society, are respected”. And paragraph six stresses the inclusion of Afghan women in every aspect of their society: “We emphasise the importance of full participation of all Afghan women in the reconstruction, political, peace and reconciliation processes in Afghanistan and the need to respect the institutional arrangements protecting their rights. We remain committed to the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. We recognise also the need for the protection of children from the damaging effects of armed conflict as required in relevant UNSCRs.” Both of these specific clauses are particularly positive signs for the women of Afghanistan. As Mrs. Bush states in her May 18 op-ed in the Washington Post, Afghan women have made great strides over the last ten years due to the sacrifice and resolve of the United States and the broader NATO coalition. But, as Mrs. Bush points out, “Despite these gains, Afghanistan’s progress remains tenuous”- especially for Afghan women. The declaration gives reason for optimism, but the international community must remain unwavering in their support of Afghan women and should continue to pressure the Afghan leaders to stick to their word. Studies show that the inclusion of women in societies directly correlates with the success and stability of a nation. Therefore, the fate of Afghan women will significantly impact the future of Afghanistan. The world is watching and hoping for a better and brighter Afghanistan. To read Mrs. Bush's recent op-ed, "Don't Abandon Afghanistan", published in the Washington Post, click here. This post was written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.
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