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Internationally acclaimed author Qais Akbar Omar comes to Washington DC on March 29 with his astonishing memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers. His family's remarkable story of survival against seemingly unbeatable odds under Taliban rule comes to life in his new book.

"If you only read one book this summer, make it this one." Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine

Omar sheds light on Afghanistan's rich culture and history, painting a picture of familial love rich with introspection, intelligence and a deep regard for education. Omar sees higher education, particularly for young Afghan women like his five sisters, as a way for his country to emerge from the darkness. Autographed books will be available at the event.

Proceeds benefit the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women - an organization that brings Afghan women to the US for university level study. Come meet some of these remarkable students against a backdrop of beautiful Afghan rugs. Hosted by Matt Camron Rugs and Tapestries, 1653 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington DC.

Please join us for this very special event! RSVP by March 22: Click Here!

Featured Highlights

Renewing Our Commitment to Educating Afghanistan's Future Leaders

Welcome from Our New Executive Director - Christian Wistehuff
I am thrilled to join the staff of The Initiative To Educate Afghan Women in the important work they and their dedicated Board of Directors undertook ten years ago to help create Afghanistan’s future women leaders.

Recently, members of the Board of Directors and staff drafted an ambitious roadmap for the critical path ahead.  As a result, in the coming months, you will see a new Initiative refocused on identifying bright young women in Afghanistan interested in training in the United States for careers desperately needed to advance peace and prosperity in their home country.  You also will see new ways of communicating with existing and potential new contributors and the beginning of an engaged alumnae network both at home and abroad.

The young women who have benefited from the Initiative over the past ten years - and those who have yet to embark on their journey with us - are inspirational examples of how change can be made in the world.

It is my honor to work - with your help - toward making the dreams of these extraordinary young women possible.  Thank you for all you have done and all you are able to do in the future as the next chapter of the Initiative begins.




Providence Journal Article


81 degrees of change Program launched in R.I. 10 years ago helps Afghan women achieve equality

PROVIDENCE — Thousands of miles from the Providence office of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, there’s a war on terror.

There’s also a war on women. And women are winning, one college diploma at a time.

“It is creating change back in Afghanistan,” said Christian Wistehuff, the Initiative’s executive director.

The Initiative was established a decade ago by Paula Nirschel, then wife of the president of Roger Williams University in Bristol. So far it has provided 81 Afghan women fouryear scholarships at 23 universities.

Read entire article.


IEAW Alumna, Adela Raz, Appointed as First Deputy Spokesperson and Director of Communications for President Hamid Karzai

We congratulate our dear Adela, and note that she has fulfilled our mission ("to help create Afghanistan's future women leaders...") here to view press release.

IEAW Alumnae Website Focuses on Afghanistan’s Economy

Wadia Samadi (University of Richmond, Class of 2011, majoring in Economics and German) is back in Afghanistan where she launched Wadsam, a website focusing on news articles related to Afghanistan’s businesses and economy ( ).

Wadia describes the site as follows: “Wadsam aims to become the niche for accessing economic data on Afghanistan. The site will serve as a great resource for anyone interested in learning about economic trends, the world approach to Afghanistan’s economy, and the economic issues of the country. Economic issues from around the world and how other countries tackle those issues are also reviewed. You will find news on world businesses, their accomplishments and failures.  The site is divided as follows:

  • The Economist of the Month provides a quick exposure to some of history’s top economists.
  • Afghanistan’s Arts and Culture reports on entertainment including the world of movies and fashion.
  • Afghanistan in Pictures reflects the natural beauty of Afghanistan–something rarely portrayed by the media. The pictures clearly shout out that Afghanistan is not all about war.”

Please view our student’s “Look Who’s Driving” film

This short documentary film was created as part of MyStreet, Afghanistan and screened at the Open City Film Festival in London, won an award in National Film Festival for Talented Youth (Nffty) in Seattle, was screened in Formula Mundi Film Festival in Egypt and also at the Human Rights Film Festival in Kabul.


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...My Life, My Dream, My Country's Future.

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