I had the pleasure of attending the kick-off dinner to the George W. Bush Presidential Center “Building Afghanistan’s Future” conference at Southern Methodist University. It was such an exciting event and one that I could not miss!
The conference was focused towards Afghanistan, the Afghani women and their future. I can tell you now that though the dinner and the panel speakers were just a sample of what is going on in Afghanistan I truly learned a lot.
Let me start off by telling you that the day before the conference started there were people all over Umphrey Lee center decorating it and adding things all over the walls. I have to admit that it looked really nice.
After my busy day at school and work I finally made my way to the cocktail hour just before the dinner. The only people I knew on site were my co-workers and a friend. Never the less I had fun. Once I made my way upstairs there were Afghani women selling jewelry, rugs, books and many more things. Everything they were selling (except the book) was made by the Afghani women. I left with a black bracelet made out of the soldiers parachute rope and a soldiers uniform button.
The cocktail hour was amazing. I met some undergraduate and graduate students at SMU and most of all I met Laura Bush. How amazing is that!? It was such a random, memorable and exciting moment. I honestly wasn’t expecting to meet her at the event even though I knew she would be there.
At the dinner we had an amazing three course meal. I honestly could not complain but most importantly we had a great discussion on Afghanistan women. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bush came up to speak to the guest and the Honorable Glassman moderated a three person panel of the advances of the Afghani women.
All three panelist gave a short speech and introduction on themselves. One of the panelist was an Afghani woman who was so passionate and wonderful. She was honestly the light of the whole event. Her speech was very informative, funny and inspiring. She taught me so much about Afghanistan and the Afghani women.
After hearing the panel talk and answer questions I got a sense that the America’s work in Afghanistan is not done. Since 2000 there has been great progress in Afghanistan but there is so much that still needs to be done. What is most impressive are the Afghani women and their determination to not give up. They are the light force of the country and the country’s future. The Afghani women have a major part in re-building Afghanistan and it’s future.
The Afghani women have come out and because leaders of their communities. They have created their own business, have started to learn how to read and write, have created TV and radio stations, and so much more! In such an oppressed country such as Afghanistan these women were able stand up for themselves and their family to create change.
Overall, attending this event was very empowering not only to myself but to everyone who attended. I know that we all took something from what we heard and will try to help out in any way possible.
I hope to attend many more of these events from the George W. Bush Presidential Center and learn about the many things that the Bush family does for this country.