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We were deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of 21 people, including two American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) faculty members, Alexandros Petersen and Lexie Kamerman, in a bombing at a restaurant in Kabul last week. We condemn the terrorist attack that took the innocent lives of those who were helping to build a better future for Afghanistan. The teachers, like many others, were working to advance the role of women in the country.
Mrs. Laura Bush is a longtime supporter of the American University of Afghanistan. AUAF provides education opportunity to both men and women and focuses on promoting women in Afghan society and providing support to the hundreds of women who attend school there. On her first trip to Afghanistan in 2005, Mrs. Bush announced USAID funds to begin at AUAF. In May 2013, AUAF dedicated the International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development (ICAWED) and the Laura Bush Library and Resource Center, where students, women’s organization leaders and business owners can gather to research, study and plan.
Many brave Afghans, Americans, and international citizens work at AUAF to ensure Afghans have the opportunity to obtain an outstanding education. We remember Alexandros and Lexie for their courage and dedication in believing education is a right for all – men and women, boys and girls. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims, their families and friends.
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
Women’s Economic Participation in Afghanistan
WE Lead Scholar Shahnaz Nasr shares how she is fostering economic empowerment for women in Afghanistan.
Dreamer to Achiever
In Egypt, it was not common for women to run or play sports in public. 2013 WE Lead Scholar Mariz Doss worked to change that perception.
WE Lead Graduation
The inaugural class of WE Lead scholars graduated from the 5-month program on March 21. WE Lead seeks to empower and equip women to become more effective leaders and to advance economic opportunity in their communities and countries.
Q&A with WE Lead Scholar Nadia Behboodi
Nadia Behboodi, a 2019 WE Lead Scholar from Afghanistan, is CEO of the Afghan Women’s Organization for Research, Learning, and Development. She volunteers with Seeds of Change, a network of professional women and men standing for female leadership at all levels, and manages Afghanistan’s first circle of the Lean In network, which promotes female empowerment.