Adela Raz and The New Generation of Afghan Women Leaders Delegation

Video courtesy Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Adela Raz (Simmons 2008 | Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy 2010), Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joined a delegation of eight high-ranking Afghan women officials in a visit to Washington DC. The delegation, hosted by the Embassy of Afghanistan from February 12-16, 2018, met with US government officials and Members of Congress, policy makers, NGOs and the media to discuss progress and challenges in government and fiscal reforms, women’s equality, peacebuilding efforts and foreign relations.

One of the first events on the delegation’s busy schedule was an event at the Brookings

Institution, hosted by the non-profit’s Foreign Policy program in collaboration with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the US-Afghan Women’s Council. The event highlighted the new generation of female leaders within Afghanistan, which the delegation so beautifully represented, and the successes and ongoing struggles that face the country at large and women in particular.

Photo Credit: Marzia Nawrozi (Meredith College Class of 2013)

The delegation emphasized the need to look beyond the news headlines focused on the ongoing war to the important progress that has been made legally, economically and socially. They cited, among other advances, the establishment of a constitution, significant improvement in access to and attitudes towards girls’ education, and the emergence of a generation of Afghan youth who are committed to resisting terrorism and advancing social justice and human rights. During the discussion, Adela Raz graciously confronted the stereotyping of Afghan women, arguing that the image of Afghan women will change when they are considered partners, not merely victims or recipients of aid. She emphasized the importance of women’s personal responsibility in creating positive change, “If I want to see change in Afghanistan, I need to be a part of it.”

The delegation embodied Adela’s statement. These women returned to Afghanistan with the education, commitment and skills required to lead peace building efforts, economic growth and reconstruction. The Embassy of Afghanistan calls them “Afghan Women Reformers” because they are actively and bravely disrupting “deeply-rooted systems of patronage and unblocking the flow of new ideas into the Afghan government.”

The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women continues to invest in education and leadership development programs for Afghan women to create and sustain this generation female “disrupters” in Afghanistan. The Afghan Women Reformers delegation demonstrates the power educated women can and will use to create meaningful and lasting change in Afghanistan across a variety of sectors, ministries and areas of engagement.

For a detailed description of the Afghan Women in Government itinerary, interviews of the delegates, as well as comprehensive video and photo coverage of their visit, please visit the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's website.

“If I want to see change in Afghanistan, I need to be a part of it.”

- Adela Raz (Simmons 2008 | Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy 2010

Deputy Foreign Minister of Economic Affairs of Afghanistan

Afghan Delegation Members

Adela Raz

Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Naheed Sarabi

Deputy Minister for Policy - Ministry of Finance

Ghazaal Habibyar-Safi

Deputy Minister, Minister of Mines and Petroleum

Shaharzad Akbar

Senior Advisor to the President on High Councils

Naheed Esar

Director of Policy and Analysis, Administrative Office of the President

Ghizaal Haress

Commissioner, Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution

Dr. Zohra Nawabi

Member, Provincial Council of Kabul Province

Muqadessa Yourish

Appointment Board Commissioner, Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Service Commission

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