On October 19, 2021, the Network of enlightened Women at American University teamed up with American University’s chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society, a nonprofit focused on foreign policy and national security, to cosponsor a “Discussion on Women in Afghanistan” featuring Anita McBride, Connie Morella, and Mozhgan Wafiq Alokozai.
Anita McBride previously served as assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush from 2005 to 2009. She had primary responsibility for the First Lady’s efforts to support US foreign policy objectives in human rights, women’s empowerment, global health, and human freedom. Anita McBride also serves as NeW at AU’s faculty advisor.
Connie Morella served as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris from 2003 to 2007. She also represented Maryland’s 8th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 2003 where she initiated legislation addressing domestic violence and child support, as well as programs for the elderly, environmental protection, health care reform, and human rights issues.
Mozhgan Wafiq Alokozai is the Founder and President of Eagle Online Academy, a nonprofit organization passionate about long-term online education solutions with a primary focus on benefiting women and girls, and the CEO of My Impressive LLC, a marketing and consulting company based in Kabul, Afghanistan and Virginia, USA. She also serves the Afghan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industries as an advisory board member and the Institute Economic Empowerment of Women as its international advisory board member.
Each of these highly respected and accomplished women had uniquely valuable insights to offer on the topic of women and girls in Afghanistan given their diverse backgrounds. Hearing from Mozhgan Wafiq Alokozai was particularly rewarding as she was able to share her firsthand experiences as a woman who lived in Afghanistan and still has family in the region.
Prior to the start of the discussion, attendees had the opportunity to connect with our speakers and enjoy a “taste of Afghanistan” through small bites and appetizers catered from Lapis, an Afghan restaurant in Washington, DC.
This event was an incredible way for NeW at American to draw awareness to a cause that must not be simply swept under the rug. A resounding point that the three speakers came to a consensus on was that this is an issue that can unite legislators of both political parties. Bipartisan momentum is a step towards a remedy to the horrid conditions women in Afghanistan are facing. It would be a disservice to women around the world to ignore this fact.
Approximately thirty students attended this event, many of whom came with excellent questions pertaining to what we can do as college students to help support Afghan women and girls both in Afghanistan and in the U.S. Our speakers ended with calls to action such as donating to nonprofit organizations focused on this cause, providing aid to refugees in the Washington, DC area, and becoming educated on meaningful political action the U.S. can take moving forward to preserve the individual liberties being stripped away from women in Afghanistan.
This blog was written by Abby Daniels, President of NeW at American University.