A highlight of Leadership Academy 2018 was our students’ meeting with Ambassador Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the United States Department of State.
The Initiative's annual weeklong Leadership Academy in Washington, DC is a capstone experience of workshops inspired by The Initiative’s mission and core values led by nationally and internationally recognized experts in their fields. As in years past, students this year had the opportunity to interact with leading US academics, journalists, policy- and lawmakers.
Before she assumed her duties as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Ambassador Wells served as the United States Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; as senior adviser in the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau in the Department of State, as Special Assistant to the President for Russia and Central Asia in the White House (2012-2013); Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Clinton (2011-2012); and Executive Assistant to Under Secretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns (2009-2011).
Early this month, Ambassador Wells visited Kabul where she met with President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah Abdullah, acting foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani, National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar, High Peace Council Chairman Karim Khalili, members of the Independent Election Commission, and other Afghan leaders. During her visit, she called on the Taliban to give up violence, end relations with al-Qaeda, submit to the Constitution of Afghanistan, and ensure protection of women’s rights.
During our time together, Ambassador Wells outlined current US policy in Afghanistan and the region, reminded our students that they are Afghanistan’s present leaders, encouraging them to be the change they wish to see in their country.