March 21, 2012 – Afghan women are crucial to their country’s future, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday during the 10th anniversary celebration of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, housed at Georgetown since 2009.
“The women of Afghanistan are a valuable and irreplaceable resource, and their rights must be protected and the opportunities for them to contribute must be preserved,” Clinton said at the State Department event today.
Georgetown President John J. DeGioia presented Clinton and First Lady Laura Bush with awards for their work with women and children at the event.
The U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council connects the U.S. and Afghan governments with the private sector, academics and non-governmental organizations to improve the lives of women and children in Afghanistan.
“In ways that often go unnoticed, the women of Afghanistan are hard at work each and every day solving Afghanistan’s problems and serving her people,” Clinton said. “And for many Afghan women, the help they have received from this council has made all the difference.”
Bush initiated the council during her husband’s presidency and still serves as an honorary advisor.
“Promoting women’s freedom is crucial to Afghanistan’s future,” Bush said. “To the extent that women are empowered to fully participate in their country, they’ll contribute to the stability and the prosperity of their nation.”
The former First Lady was honored for her work with the council and received the inaugural Champion for Afghan Women award from DeGioia.
Georgetown’s president gave Clinton the Caring for Children Lifetime Achievement Award from Georgetown’s Center for Child and Human Development.
“We’re inspired by the depth of your commitment to the empowerment and success of women and children in Afghanistan and around the world,” DeGioia said of Bush and Clinton.
In attendance at the event were council members; Congress members; Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul; and Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and a Georgetown graduate.
A group of 10 Fulbright scholars from Afghanistan were also at the event.
DeGioia said Georgetown is dedicated to the council’s future success.
“Georgetown University has been deeply engaged in the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council since its founding,” he said. “As we mark the 10-year anniversary of the council we will continue to expand on this decade of dedicated work, deepening our commitment to creating broader opportunities for Afghan women and children.”