AUAF on Capitol Hill
AUAF on Capitol Hill
On October 22, American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) Alumnae, Gharsanay IbnulAmeen, along with AUAF President David Sedney and Friends of AUAF President Kat Conlon, met with U.S. Congressional representatives to provide a first-hand perspective on how young Afghan women see the future of their country. In meetings with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York, Chair, House Appropriations Committee), Rep. Martha Roby (R-Alabama, Member, House Appropriations Committee), and Rep. Susan Davis (D-California, Member, House Armed Services Committee), Gharsanay was an outspoken advocate for the need for Afghanistan’s young people, especially its young women, to be part of any dialogue on the country’s future. President Sedney briefed on some of the exciting initiatives underway at AUAF, such as the recent IT Day showcasing student projects and the opening of a permanent collection of Medieval Afghan Art, as examples of the new opportunities that AUAF, through its partnerships with USAID and the U.S. Department of State, is introducing to students in Afghanistan.
Throughout her AUAF career, Gharsanay took full advantage of the opportunities offered by the University and as a U.S. Embassy scholar, such as service in the Student Government Association, regularly meeting with visiting officials, selection as the 2017 Emerging Young Leader by the U.S. Department of State, and as a participant in the U.S. Institute of Peace Youth Leaders’ Exchange with the Dalai Lama that same year. She regularly stands as an ambassador of Afghanistan’s young women. Following her graduation in 2018, Gharsanay joined President Ghani’s executive staff until her departure in September 2019 to begin a Masters program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies Monterey (California) as a Fulbright scholar. In March 2019, she became the youngest awardee of the Woman of Distinction Award given by the NGO CSW Forum that runs in parallel with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
Following the meeting with Gharsanay, Rep. Lowey tweeted “When young women are empowered, they change the world.” Each of the Representatives has strong ties with Afghanistan. Rep. Davis had just returned from a trip to Afghanistan with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Rep. Davis and Roby have also completed multiple Mother’s Day trips to Afghanistan where they make a point to meet with U.S. troops and Afghan women. Each of the Congressional members expressed their support for AUAF and the importance of the U.S. investment in the University to produce thought leaders such as Ms. IbnulAmeen.