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tv   Book Discussion on We Are Afghan Women  CSPAN  March 20, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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dramatically, and politicians use that to get elected. >> host: thank you for your time. >> we want to hear from you. post your feedback to our facebook wall, facebook .com/book tv. [inaudible conversations] >> ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. [applause] thank you. >> good afternoon. welcome. i am absolutely delighted to
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welcome here this afternoon for her 1st visit, mrs. bush. we are happy to have you here, and i want to welcome ambassador will hear from the islamic republic of afghanistan. delighted to have you here with us. many other guests in the room thank you for joining us. for those of you new, we are an independent national institute founded by congress 30 years ago dedicated to the proposition that piece is possible, practical, and essential for us and international security. we pursue a vision of a world without violent conflict but working in conflict zones with partners , there is no place where teams have spent more
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time than afghanistan working with civil society and government partners to help make peace possible. we are delighted to have a panel discussion to discuss exactly who are some of the powerful women helping to make peace possible, and i have the distinct privilege of introducing a panelist on moderator. we will have ushers coming down the aisle to collect your question cards for questions after opening remarks. if you have a question) your name and affiliation along with your question. so 1st, let me welcome mrs. laura bush, long been an advocate for expanding the rights and opportunities for women in afghanistan, traveled to more than 76 countries including two
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historic solo trips and today is the chair of the women's initiative mrs. bush continues to work on global healthcare innovation, empowering women, education reform and supporting the men and women who have served in america's military. they also have with us today and gender activist with more than 25 years of experience in economic development and advocacy. extensive experience in capacity building and ngo development in afghanistan, having worked with the civil service commission and government counterparts. currently she serves as the afghanistan -based senior gender advisor and is also featured in the wonderful new book that we are here to
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celebrate. finally, i am delighted to introduce mr. stephen hadley who currently serves as the chair of the board of directors as i wise counsel and champion. previously he was assistant to the president at the national security affairs for four years and from january 2,001 to 2,005 he was an assistant for the president and deputy security advisor. [applause]
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all right. [laughter] >> we are delighted all of you can be with us. delighted to have you here. delighted with your new book which is a series and collection of wonderful stories. if you have not read it, you need to do so. will we will do is have a conversation among ourselves about 25 minutes and then have a question-and-answer period. there are cards that have been distributed. please write your questions on the cards and pass them to the aisles. try to get to as many as we can. we will then turn to our panelist and ask for any closing comments and then
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adjourn probably at 5:00 o'clock. we are delighted you are with us. i want to start with you, you have a long history of being an advocate and champion for afghan women, the 1st 1st lady to deliver the presidential radio address and spoke about the plate, challenges, and strength of afghan women why is this such a cause for you? of all the things you could take on of all the things you could take on was afghan women so important? >> after september 11 from the spotlight turned on afghanistan american women including myself so women who are marginalized. the idea of the government that would forbid half the population being educated
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shocking to american men and women. a lot of people started calling me to say i want to do something. and one of my best friends from houston called and said , i usedi used to be so glad i was not in your shoes. she said now i wish i were. so we formed the council, and many various projects to support our sisters in afghanistan. and that was the beginning of my interest. so all the years we lived at the white house i have stayed in contact with many women i've met through the council. i wanted to write about them. >> you said you wanted to write about them.
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by the way, if you have not seen it, it has a forward from misses bush, a wonderful tracing of the tribulations of afghanistan, wonderfully written. why this book in this particular way? >> well, these are the stories and because the voices were silent i thought it was important for all of us to hear what they had to say. beside that things have changed. things have changed and i wanted people to know that. so ii think this is a great way for all of us to learn not only about each of these women and one man, one brave men, but also more and more
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about the history of afghanistan. their lives really show the history of the last four years of afghanistan starting with when the soviets came in in 1979, and some of these women immigrated to pakistan with their families. some ended up in the united states. but nearly all went back after september 11 and they could. some stayed the whole time. i wanted to tell their story i want americans to hear their story,, and i am thrilled i have the opportunity to do so. >> you are one of the people in that book, born in afghanistan, came to the us
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and spent most of your life to have young wife year until september 11. tell us about your decision to return. >> well, 1st of all, i want to thank you and say how privileged i feel to be here. thanking everybody for being a part of this. i was young, had just graduated high school. he was ambassador. and we heard that the russians took over, which was a shark.
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at 1st we did not know. i did not kn what event. i had never seen a gun before or anything else. the american ambassador in germany gave my father citizenship, green card. to make a long story short we ended up staying for 25 years. september 11 happened.
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i saw the opportunity. i had such a passion i always thought of them being and suffering how to reach them. and so there were three of us. the three of us decided to start doing fundraising and we did fundraising before
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because i used to do a lot. but this was different. the doors that opened. is time to go now and help and take people's hands. let's overcome the darkness from the past. that's why i've always wanted to go back, but until september 11 i couldn't because of the war and the taliban and what was going on. after that i decided to go back. >> what was it like? what was your 1st reactions? >> i think being raised during the golden days and then being really grateful
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for living in america and to be honest with you, i cherish my life year because america gave me security, piece, serenity, opportunity, everything. for three weeks, two daughters never going to college at the time. so i said, i'm going for three or four weeks and will be back and never returned. so when i went back one thing i found that triggered my heart because i landed they took me to the driver and my cousin to the american embassy to register for security reasons being an american citizen. so i got out of the car and everything was done on the street at that time.
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so i went ahead and started signing the papers and talking to the soldiers and i turn around, march 14. so i turn around and see this nine or ten -year-old boy and raggedy clothes and barefoot. hehe was polishing my cousin's shoes for a dollar. i saw that i'm totally freaked out. i started thinking how i was raised i was ten years old. my nieces, daughters, family, friends kids, they are in another world. but that broke my heart right there. so the next thing i did was after we got to studying everything i called and
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said, look, there are people here i have been around, they have not been to school, are your age, can't even write their names. i know you need me. i am mother. but do you mind if i can stay here for a few years and help and take care of these girls and guide them and assist them in whatever way i can. and so they were so supportive, and they always teased them. you just wanted to get rid of your nagging mom, but they say no. we knew your passion, heard you on the phone, and we have time will come and help you. i am appreciative of that. >> in the word about the situation now. >> the situation now has changed.
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i just came back wednesday. things have changed. when you look at women empowerment, education, health clinics, hospitals, everything is not 100 percent perfect, but at least the seeds have been planted. the only thing that is really a barrier to development of any country or anything you do in life is security. insecurity and corruption, two things. violation against women. first of all, we have a lot of good laws, but there is no way of enforcing it. enforcing it because
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corruption gets in the way. what i saw this time, the security situation has deteriorated. and i know a lot of businesses are closing. a lot of people are becoming unemployed. this adds to the insecurity because when something goes wrong you don't know. a person who is hungry, you don't know. so right now that is where things are, but even though the security situation has deteriorated, we keep pushing. but you don't stop. >> thank you.
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went to afghanistan in 2005, 2006, 2008. talk about what you learned, some of the insights and the women he met during the trips the province that have the two huge booties that were carved into the mountain will. i knew what they look like for photographs, but they have been destroyed rubble that had been there since the 6th century and destroyed. so there was this contrast between the ancients with these old buddhists and then the idea that there was a female governor and i
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remember what that was like. this big symbol of destruction. >> and did you meet some of the women at that time that are in your book now? >> i met most here in the us through various things. there she is over there. i have a the story comeau what she just told us. and how that struck her in the picture.
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let her to want to spend so much time there. i find a lot of friendships with women afghanistan. and some of them i don't know, but there are a few. >> i like to go back to something you started. press coverage about afghanistan, most of which is bad. security is getting bad. i think we do not often appreciate how far the country has come. he started to talk about that. could you talk more about what has been accomplished in the last 14 years or so? >> we have accomplished a lot. we did not have girls going to school, clinics foreman,
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didn't have women in parliament. i can go on and on. let me explain it this way, i was looking for women doing all of that. i was looking for them all over the place. you could not find them. so i ran in and kept asking. i just want to see tenten or 15 with and that i could work with and talk to. okay. come on friday and i will go ahead and show you. i kind of didn't tell anyone where i was going.
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i did go with my friends. i walked in the mosque, saw hundreds of women with burqas sitting there. i stood there and said, you have got to be kidding me. that's what encouraged me to
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put together an ngo. six years and we didn't assessment, 10,000 women i had only 56. only high school. so this is what happened. i was able to get funds for donors. selling in english and literacy but looking today you see a lot of women out there.
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you find hundreds and thousands of women out there even in the provinces on media, you see them in television, journalists, teachers, they are all over the place. >> one of the things, very nice statistics showing the progress. teenage girls, 36 percent literacy, 37 percent are now women. really remarkable progress. and one of the things continuing the work you started as 1st lady, what
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kind of activities are going on that project? >> well, for classes, women fellowships, two from egypt into from tunisia. they began with those two because they have the 1st and most active. when they go home they have each other and him introduce each other to their colleagues and families and friends and thereby broaden their network. as a professor visited research, your network is as important as your education level to your success. they didn't have the chance to build the kind of networks that we do.
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egyptian fellows. they really have a broad network now with the two groups and everyone else introduced to two. we had of the testing and treatment for cervical cancer which is the leading cause of cancer among african women, the platform that will set up when george was present. now adding the testing and treatment focused on women
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as well. african 1st ladies, talking about how they can use their roles in countries while their husbands are head of state to match them with ngos, corporations that are active in their countries and then talking about good governance and one african woman said i know the government pay for your close. they did not. but we do talk about good governance and the ways. we brought in that to more than just african 1st ladies.
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the women's council, the meeting here, afghan 1st ladies are part of our projects as well. >> it really is -- i was honored to have the privilege of sitting in on the meeting today. it is a bipartisan effort. this is one area where republicans and democrats at work together. the former secretary of state, it continues to be a bipartisan effort by the american people.
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i would like to go back to you if i might and ask you, what is the frame of mind, the spirit of afghan women today? what are they thinking about? particularly young women who have seen such change in their lives, when you talk to them. what are their hopes, fears? >> the frame of mind of afghan women, like i said earlier, has changed through the time. they are not the same that they were 14 years ago. ..
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>> >> and to convince her
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children and family it is okay and everything will be fine. like everybody else like other women in the world we're not any different than the afghan women it is just the differences and what kind of opportunities they are given. and what kind of opportunities are given to us is the difference and also security. that plays a major role for the. so after a bid are in high spirits. and a dream to live like everyone else even though the gazar rough but how they
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are pushing the there advocating in this is just one example. >> we will turn to questions we will try to get as through as many as three key and. why is the unbalance toefl for the future of afghanistan and to what can the international community do to sustain the gains that have been made? >> i am hopeful partly because of what she said and i do know their spirits and strength of that deal with in that comes across the book from the women better interviewed so that is hopeful. i also think whole
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international community as well as united states need to continue to do whatever we can to support the women in afghanistan as cuban people to build its economy so people could have jobs and make money and become independent those are the things we need to continue to do was heartened that president obamacare chose to keep our troops there for quite think we need to make sure that they have the security to build a facility to form their a government and work on what they are working on. then the first lady is hoping to build a windage
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university where women are professors so they know what their daughters to go because there are ben professors but there is the option for women. and that is a good way that americans could support her to help in that way. obviously the most important thing is security. our troops can help on that. >> i acknowledge mrs. bush and i agree security is the number one thing. without that you cannot move forward. everything is collapsing around you. we have started something and we have to continue to
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making it solidified to show that we were there you just don't want to be a country in chaos and that is said sillier of the international community and we really have to pour more money into development aid and the military. if we have capable people in people have stood on the table and jobs y. dd the military? this is a question for me. i am not a politician but i am the activist. [laughter] so for me first comes the development yes we do have to trade the police in the military but if you have a good citizens and they
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cannot be bought by is the politicians you will have a stable country but unfortunately for the past 15 years a lot of money hasn't been poured into the real development side of it belonging to a military in a the police. so now a lot of the money has been allocated to the military. if he could just add to that to give them jobs get the thing that happened was trading as. they trade but we don't follow weaken trade all we want to there should be a follow-up program be be up to one year not to
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short-term. so the bed and winded and big picture but they have to follow up to they really find a job? was the trading effective? and if not then what should we do because they have already spent a lot of to be successful to everybody the donor, afghan people, that is where i am coming from to get more but he added to the development side. >> is a security issue as well. and in fact, one of the reasons the taliban was that little boy days were plucked into a the madrassas because
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the little boys were hungry and they would be fed. and did the rest of the world we fell in a fast-paced life you want everything to happen in front of our eyes if we don't think about the future we don't invest in the future and that needs to teach. i am sure other patients have gone through this, probably hundreds of years ago. i think you'll have bid in afghanistan. we just have to be patient and did not give up. >> talking about the non security export -- security side with the largest truelove lot program will be
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its focus as it pertains to winded and girls? a and winded? >> we have met the law's. we have to learn how to enforce though lot. irene member with my ngo i had the training from the women lawyers ted years ago. had one of the players was abused by her husband at home but then if she would go to court for had tried to defend everybody else. so i sat her down when i fanned out to say if you cannot defend yourself how
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do you defend others? she started to cry even when i stand there tried to defend others i am not making it because the judges have already been paid or stronger than be. and that is why i need the training so we do need to start off at the university we do need that to practice with them and advocate for them and teaching them how to take themselves first. if you cannot defend yourself you cannot defend
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anybody else outside. we also know others but there is just a few. and really need to tap and focus that yonder generation and because the lawyers that are there from the past i am not trying to discriminate but it is hard for them to change their way of work a add implementation but one thing to focus on is the younger generation and to teach them to be real lawyers to go with an attitude that i can win. >> the two that are the
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related affairs like to ask from the afghan news, there is the on-again and off-again peace talks with the of taliban. to the women that you work with has years about the peace process or a the afghan government here and the taliban? what does indeed for the
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progress it has achieved since 2001? >> it depends on what you give up. who else is at the table. does anybody go? >> the taliban has left the table recently the last couple of days wind has indicated he will participate in the fda and peace process with arafat that will have the defect if they get is still on-again off-again data question did is really some a anxieties. >> there is. end through the peace process. if you look at the overall picture the peace council
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created years ago when you have 70 ben and 546 women, how do arrive at peace? the also cater to whatever the 6570 men are saying. so they don't get sacrificed a and though women that was secluded from everything. and they have gained so much of the past 14 years and there is no way we would
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sacrifice that. if you should see their faces over my dead body. there is no way i will give up but i have gained it 40 years and politicians, i'm sorry to sacrifice my life in order to bring peace. that is not peace at the end of the day. there is a lot more involved to it and what a or debir countries are asking for. they are asking for a lot of things that the fda people swelled not give up. that is my understanding of
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the peace council. >> we have talked about women in curls and the important role they haven't efta society how important our efforts to reach men and boys to change culture of society? >> for sure. to reach the men and boys as i said earlier one friend said not know why you are working with the with it is the men that need to work. [laughter] spee beckoned we did here with that earlier to work with the boys especially to talk about pc and conflict
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resolution but the is bleeds blue dash foyers were not apparent to it that are the terrorists of the taliban. they didn't have parents that talk of how to be banned -- menu who'd taught them how to live but instead they were sent to the madrassas were they were brainwashed and not taught how to get along. that to teach the boys and girls how to get along with other people and other people's lives matter also. >> i eggs read this is bush but there is one thing over the past 40 years that i recognize but first we have to work with the boys
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because if the men in the boys are brought up for the women did we don't have to. and what has the war dead to these men? the boy born with 30 years ago was born during the war you have to be protective of the women and children during the gulf war so then the taliban cave so that was the icing on the cake. don't show the girls are the women. it will take another generation for men to say it is okay it is okay if my
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daughter goes to work or to the movies or if she does this. end of the war has brainwashed the ben. in that generation is still there. but will take two or three generations to see the change. >> here is the latest question from a student at george patient -- george mason is a little long progress a first generation i have been raised to learn how to balance my afghan heritage with my western surroundings. given that afghanistan has a patriarchal structures society what a complex that
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you seem to the resistance of inequalities of they view as a western idea rather than an afghan idea and how is that created with tradition and the western idea of empowerment? >> go ahead. [laughter] >> it is the word gender. it is the quality and empowered interco that includes men and female but when he is a gender they all feed with said they seek is a western thing to have equal rights of women.
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but to be honest in is what we do have equal rights. at what happened to the beginning everybody went in and to do their homework and unloaded in the exceptions to the go very well they will perceive u.s. and afghan no problem.
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tuesday i go you are helping me but you will leave. you have that option and i am here now matter what. this is all of the perceptions because ascii and people really have to trust you. i don't blame them because to be honest but they don't trust anybody. the hut but now takes to the international community's and for those who are in the senate and those foreign
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ministers. but still they have their doubts anything that you put forward whether it comes from germany as long as it is from a foreign entity they just all want to go for anything anymore. >> we're at the end of our time. got like to turn to our panel and would you like the last word? two mb to introduce the women and the book. please stand.
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[applause] >> also from the left to italy to the pitcher is not as bad as it sounds. it is important we all stay involved as americans led we keep our troops to keep our space and for all the international community's and with afghan women's council. with the we should figure out how to get the for profits into afghanistan.
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[applause] so they can be employed to make money. so the afghan government to take care of things in afghanistan off. >> when i saw the book i am honored has always. and i am thankful to the council have done an incredible job. so if it reminded me it ticked me back 40 years ago. the honorable mrs. bush have a right to take you on behalf of afghan men and women for all the work he has supported with the afghan women said end children.
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>> and in 2004 in front of 400 american businessmen and women and i had to convince many leaders with mine a speech to believe and to fund the project. i ended with the following sentence with a lot of hope. this is what the afghan woman says, is still after paid with the dark-- in the storm. the sign is out and started to bloom like a rose. to have a tender love and care. i do not want to die again.
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this is bush, through your leadership you have played a major role to build capacity and today you recognize what is in your book because 40 years ago. >> [applause] >> thank you very much. [applause] >> on behalf of all of us here today i want to thank our guests and after 37 years of war will take a long time but there are
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extraordinary signs of progress and much hope. they give for your collective passion in this afternoon as a look at the path for word. special thanks to afghan women around the world. into all of us with the wonderful new book. it is an honor to host everybody here today. please stay seated in joining me with one more round. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] if. >> welcome back. we were here six years ago when i interviewed you for a history of five presidents and their use of executive power i love reading it to prepare and interviewing you i even read it after the interview


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