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International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development 

On January 31, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham, along with USAID Mission Director Ken Yamashita, joined the President of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) and other guests in a convocation ceremony celebrating the beginning of the semester of classes. Highlighting the long-term commitment of the United States to education in Afghanistan, Ambassador Cunningham spoke about the new International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations. When it opens this spring, it will be the first facility of its kind in Afghanistan to coordinate international and Afghan public and private sector efforts to advance the role of women in the economic stabilization of Afghanistan.

The International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development will include classrooms, meeting and seminar space, computer labs, state-of-the art video conference facilities, an English language training center, a research center, a radio station and a space for a women’s business incubator. It will support women’s training and development in two critical areas: information and communication technology; and indigenous industries in Afghanistan and the supply chain development and logistics needed to bring these industries to scale and to market. Investing in girls and women spurs economic growth and helps create stable and prosperous societies.  This year for the first time, women make up over half of the entering class at AUAF.