Promoting Women’s Participation and Reconciliation : Afghanistan

  • 31 July, 2016

A group of Afghani leaders and women’s activists visited the Valley of the Sun this week to observe and develop stronger messaging and programming for promoting women’s rights in their home country. The group spent five days in the City of Scottsdale with Global Ties Arizona and several professionals in the Valley.
One of the group’s first meetings was with a group of representatives from the Valley Interfaith Project AZ. This meeting included information on how a group of interfaith religious leaders came together to do something about the growing pressures on Arizona families and how they work together across lines of religion, race and culture to accomplish a common goal. Additionally, the visitors learned about the Project’s accomplishments with the general public and government agencies through social aimed programs. The Afghani delegation shared similar passions with this group during their conversations on women’s rights and promoting participation by women of their culture.
The Afghani’s then ventured to the Thunderbird School of Global Management, a nationally recognized educational institution promoting global business and entrepreneurship. Our visitors were given a campus tour before their meeting and opportunity to view photos of the school’s Project Artemis program. This Project Artemis program brings women entrepreneurs from Afghanistan to Thunderbird’s campus for entrepreneur education and mentorship.  Ms. Heim, the client director for Thunderbird, directs this program and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative for Afghan women.
The group also had a discussion covering information about the Empowered PhXX and how they are working to affect civic engagement and education among women. The Afghani group had many questions about the organization’s efforts in civic engagement and methods for application.
In a meeting with the Executive Director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement, Mr. Larry Holtz provided an overview of the organization’s mission to build bridges of understanding, respect, and support among diverse people of faith through education, dialogue, service, and the implementation of the ‘Golden Rule.’ The group also heard about ongoing projects and activities regarding interfaith education in the state of Arizona.
The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership’s Vice President, Ms. Nancy Welsh, sat down with the group to explain the Center’s support of a model of leadership based on hard work, knowledge, and a willingness to bridge differences to build consensus on solutions that advance Arizona  -  and how the Center develops leaders to help ensure that Arizonans are ready, willing and able to be effective, creative leaders.  “The demand for great civic leadership will never go away” was quoted from a representative with the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.
One of the last professional encounters for the leaders from Afghanistan was with Ms. Tammy Waller. Tammy works with the Arizona Department of Education in the Excellence in Civic Engagement department. Ms. Waller arranged a meeting with several members of the Department of Education and their Civic Engagement partners.  The discussion covered the program’s history and curriculum, as well as the impacts that it has had on its students and the communities where it has been implemented.
The International Visitor Leadership Program visitors from Afghanistan also had the opportunity to sit down with a Global Ties AZ board member and his wife, Dan and Suzanne Schweiker. Dan is the founder and President of China Mist Tea and is currently running for office as a Scottsdale City Councilman and Suzanne is an Interior Designer. The Afghanis had many questions for Dan and his wife, many of which pertained to running for office and being both a business owner and candidate for public office.
Overall, this group of leaders applied their current philosophies on civic engagement and public cultivation to that of professionals in the Arizona Valley. They observed the strength of social media in the United States and how Arizona promotes a variety of programs benefitting minority groups and women in our state. The delegation from Afghanistan has now acquired the knowledge necessary to carry out stronger media and grass roots campaign to cultivate further support for women in their country.

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