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ICAWED Hosts Afghan Leaders at Georgetown University

On October, 2015, The International Center for Afghan Women's Economic Development (ICAWED) of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF)  in partnership with  the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council (USAWC)  host a group of 14 Afghan women leaders for a Train-the-Trainer session. It was held at the Georgetown University, Washington, D.C under The Rising Afghan Women Leaders Initiative (RAWLI)

The 2015 RAWLI program engaged Afghan women leaders from diverse fields. Participants included midwives, educators, businesswomen, women’s rights advocates, NGO leaders, diplomats, and members of the Afghan Parliament. The Council’s newest Honorary Chair, the First Lady of Afghanistan Mrs. Rula Ghani has offered her guidance and support to vulnerable populations.  In her honor, participants in this year’s Rising Afghan Women Leaders Initiative have committed to take the training back to the diverse populations in their home country.

Zakia Soleiman, Director of ICAWED, and Madina Mahbobi, Associate Director of ICAWED attended the training. Zakia shared AUAF and ICAWED's journey and achievements from 2006-2015. She spoke about how it is changing and influencing the lives of many Afghan women through its educational program.

"RAWLI inspires and motivates Afghan women leaders to work for positive change not only on their lives and surroundings, but as leaders going beyond their surroundings to regional and national level," said Zakia Soleiman. "They become face of strong women leaders who participate and lead the initiatives for development and positive change on lives other Afghan women at their communities."

The RAWLI curriculum was a week-long journey of self-exploration, designed to support the personal and professional leadership development of Afghan women leaders. The training was framed around each participant’s individual leadership challenge.  Participants individually and collectively examine, explore, and solve their leadership challenges and achieve effective strategies and solutions through peer-to-peer engagement, facilitated dialogue, formal instruction, and community action.

Key elements of the training involved: recognizing and living your values; reframing your mental models and perceptions; discerning adaptive from technical challenges; gaining new perspective by stepping back; and developing strategic alliances and relationships.                                                                                                               

RAWLI was launched by ICAWED and USAWC in 2014, to advance a key objective of promoting substantive and practical leadership development of Afghan women. USAWC‘s Honorary Chairs and former U.S. First Ladies, Mrs. Laura Bush and Mrs. Hilary R. Clinton and USAWC’s Co-Chairs U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine M. Russell and Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia strongly endorsed this Initiative.