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Laura Bush Resource Center and Library Opens in Kabul
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)