KABUL, Afghanistan, May 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) will hold a historic dedication Saturday for the International Center for Afghan Women's Economic Development – the only such place for women in Afghanistan to meet with academic, business, and government leaders. The $5 million, 54,000-square-foot center marks a remarkable achievement for a country long affected by gender inequality, and will serve to coordinate international and Afghan efforts to advance the role of women in the nation's economy.
While unable to attend, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered support in a recent letter, stating, "This work could not be more vital, for when women are given the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential, families, communities, and whole nations thrive."
AUAF will also hold its third graduation ceremony since its 2006 inception directly following the dedication, celebrating the academic achievements of more than 100 students receiving their degrees. The Honorable Ryan Crocker, former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, will give the keynote speech. This year's class of graduates outnumbers the two prior classes combined and is double that of the university's 2006 enrollment of 50 students. AUAF currently enrolls nearly 1,000 full-time degree students.
"The university has grown tremendously in seven short years and continues to serve as an anchor for stability, playing an active role in the extension of educational services to the people, agencies, businesses, and organizations of Afghanistan," said AUAF President Dr. C. Michael Smith. "The university is leading the way in empowering Afghans – both men and women – to assume leadership roles that will tie Afghanistan further into the international community. The graduation and dedication ceremonies this week are further evidence of the university's success and commitment and a reminder that U.S. investment in the University is an effective and low-cost asset that helps guide the nation's transformation into a vibrant democracy."Afghan government officials, international business leaders, and family and friends will be in attendance.