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Leaders Meet To Help Empower Afghan Women As US Begins Drawdown

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Humanitarian and education leaders met to identify ways to help empower Afghan women ahead of the scheduled end of NATO's combat mission in Afghanistan.

With the combat drawdown slated to end in 2014, humanitarian, educational and civil society organizations are pressing to develop ways of preserving and increasing the economic, educational and legal gains made by Afghan women over the past 10 years through protections, assistance and support from all sectors.

"A model for a 'Women's Trust' was developed in 2011 by the Afghan Trusted Network (Aftrust.net) to help women transform a community through education and empowerment," said Rosalie J. Wyatt, director of AfTrust.net and president of the Pepperdine University Washington, DC alumni association. "It's important to have a framework like this to leverage the best practices of the past 10 years going forward."

Amb. Steven E. Steiner of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council and US Institute of Peace's Center for Gender and Peacebuilding agreed, adding that, "We've learned that it is also import to educate and engage men in the process of women's empowerment."

Hosted at Pepperdine's DC campus by its DC alumni association and AfTrust.net, the roundtable identified best practices from over 60 attendees, including the recent launch of the International Center for Afghan Women's Economic Development on the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) campus in Kabul.   The roundtable participants recognized the progress achieved since 2001 in spite of obstacles, and outlined the partnerships for cooperation and collaboration between the academic, corporate, and diplomatic community that could enable Afghan women opportunities to build a better future for themselves and their country.

Chaired by Hon. Ehsan Bayat, D.HumL, Mrs. Fatema Bayat, and Mrs. Caroline Firestone, the session was hosted by Dr. Richard Gathro, Director of Pepperdine's Washington, DC Program and moderated by Ms. Wyatt and Afghanistan Council Chairman Mr. Ajmal Ghani A. with discussion leaders that included Mrs. Sultana Hakimi, the spouse of the Afghan ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Linda A. Livingstone, dean of Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management in California, Amb. Steiner, and Friends of AUAF Chairman Leslie Schweitzer.

Attendees included Afghan Medical Professionals Association in America board member, Dr. Hosai Hesham, who discussed the importance of institutionalizing medical standards; Dean Livingstone who outlined the value and positive impact of developing partnerships, having increased the university's number of international partnerships with other business schools around the world; PAE's Barbara Dillon Hillas who discussed the rule of law as a requisite foundation for developing a civil society to effectively empower women; and Pax Mondial's CCO and EVP, Dan Bridges, who pointed out the importance of empowering women professionally to foster peace and stabilization, notwithstanding the challenges.  Sponsored by Pax Mondial and PAE, this 2013 Leadership Series Symposium is the fourth in the Solution-Based Engagement™ series conducted by the Afghan Trusted Network, founded under the leadership of the Bayat Foundation in partnership with League for Hope, chaired by Jeb Carney.

Contact rjwyatt@wyattcgi.com

SOURCE League for Hope

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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