The Initiative To Educate Afghan Women Kicks Off 15th Year This Fall

Organization celebrates 15 years of education, leadership and change - and three new major milestones.

PROVIDENCE, RI, Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - This fall, the Initiative will celebrate 15th years of education, leadership and change! The Initiative’s work started in August of 2003, when our first three students arrived to begin their undergraduate studies at Roger Williams College. During our 15th year celebrations, which begin fall term 2018, we will commemorate the many outstanding achievements of our first fourteen years as we look forward to the launch of three major organizational milestones planned for our 15th year.

Click on the timeline below for a Brief History of The Initiative!

Three Major Milestones Ahead

Three major organizational milestones will launch in our 15th year during the 2018-2019 academic year:


Graduation of our 100th US Undergraduate Program Student

Since 2003, the Initiative has partnered with 25 colleges and universities in the United States to provide Afghan women the opportunity to pursue undergraduate education. The aim of the US Undergraduate Program has been to provide high-quality education critical to the personal and professional development of Afghan women in order that they may be a force of positive change as holders of precious human capital within their country as it moves forward. Since 2013, the Initiative has supplemented undergraduate studies with Leadership Academy, a week-long personal and career development course developed in partnership with the Center for Child and Human Development at Georgetown University, and a summer internship program at firms within Afghanistan that expand women’s career networks in their home country and provide critical career development opportunities to complement their academic development.


Launch of one-year Leadership Development Program

In the fall of 2018, the Initiative will add a new Professional Development Program, a two-semester academic enrichment, professional mentorship and leadership training program to its existing programmatic activities. This program aims to: 1) promote Afghan professional women as change leaders and advocates within their industries and organizations; and 2) position Afghan professional women at the center of partnerships that promote the transfer of knowledge from US to Afghan public and private institutions primarily in the areas of government and industry, architecture and engineering, education and medicine, and media and journalism.

The Program seeks to respond to Afghanistan’s current development need to support increasing numbers of female university graduates and young professional women in Afghanistan seeking to attain or advance to senior positions despite long-entrenched patriarchal and patronage systems. Candidates will submit proposals supported by their employers for industry or organizational improvement projects, which they will lead upon their return to Afghanistan upon completion of the one-year certificate program, a partnership with the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.


Welcome Arthur Gensler as Honorary Chair of the Board of Directors

As we celebrate the accomplishments of the Initiative’s 15 years and look forward to new opportunities to fulfill our mission, we are pleased to recognize M. Arthur (Art) Gensler Jr., FAIA, FIIDA, RIBA as Honorary Chair of the Board of Directors for 2018-2019. Art’s late wife, Drucilla (Drue) Cortell Gensler, served as the former Chair of the Initiative’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board, and made a lasting impact on our organization and the women whom IEAW has supported to take on positions of leadership upon their return to Afghanistan.

Please stay tuned to upcoming newsletters for announcements about other special events and celebrations in your area!

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