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On May 25, 2013, the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) dedicated the International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development (ICAWED) in Kabul, Afghanistan. Funded through a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, the center’s operation is to promote, coordinate and connect the numerous public and private sector entities engaged in the empowerment of Afghan women in the economy.
The center is a state-of-the-art building that houses computer labs, video conference facilities, a radio broadcast studio, training and classrooms, research facilities, a business accelerator, a 200-seat auditorium and a cultural center. It is also home to the Laura Bush Library and Resource Center, where AUAF students, women’s organization leaders and business owners can gather to research, study and plan.
In a country where many local and international NGOs face funding cuts in light of the 2014 military drawdown, the permanent ICAWED structure at AUAF stands in stark contrast. Various programs and initiatives will make use of the center’s facilities to teach leadership skills, collaborate on legislation to promote women’s roles in Afghanistan’s economy, network with other female business leaders, and learn social media technology. ICAWED director Nilofar Sakhi said at the center’s dedication, “No other facility exists like this in the entire country. We want to send a clear message that we aren’t going anywhere.”
Mrs. Bush has been and continues to be a proud supporter of women’s education and economic opportunity in Afghanistan. View a short video of her remarks at the ICAWED dedication below.
- American University of Afghanistan’s Announcement
- A few photos of the center (Friends of AUAF’s website)
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