Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Afghanistan Celebrates 2013 Graduation
Written by: Amanda Carson, '09
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women celebrated its fifth graduation ceremony on May 16th 2013 at the American University of Afghanistan. Over 550 people attended, despite the early morning terrorist attack elsewhere in the city, which prevented members of the US Embassy and other invitees with strict security guidelines from attending. The program was proud to present 83 graduates from 16 provinces throughout Afghanistan with their Certificates of Completion for this rigorous program. Scholars in the past year included women from four provinces not previously reached by the program: Paktika, Paktya, Kapisa and Samawgan.
Executive Director Pamela Rager started out the ceremony by greeting the large crowd and giving a brief description of the program, followed by 10,000 Women graduate Hanifa Fatimi singing a reading from the Koran. The program was lucky to have three fabulous speakers at the event, each of which imparted great encouragement and advice to the graduates, and indicated their strong support. The Minister of Commerce, Dr. Anwar ul-Haq Ahady, talked about the importance of business owners in growing the Afghan economy. He commended all the graduates on their work and emphasized how important they all were to strengthening the economy. The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr. Husn Banu Ghazanfar, discussed the improvements made in the area of women’s rights and thanked all the graduates for becoming the next leaders of Afghanistan by joining the program and improving their education and knowledge.
After the two ministers spoke, the keynote commencement speaker Kamila Sidiqi talked about her success as a serial entrepreneur. In her speech, she stated that determination is one of the most important qualities of becoming an accomplished businesswoman. Kamila is most famous for starting a successful tailoring business during the time of the Taliban, when women-owned businesses were forbidden. Her life was chronicled by the New York Times bestseller “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana” by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Kamila was a graduate of the 1st Project Artemis class at Thunderbird in 2005, and has proven her leadership in Afghanistan, being named one of the most influential businesswomen in the country last year.
Following the speeches, Pamela Rager, along with Assistant Director Amanda Carson thanked the program instructors for their leadership and dedication, presenting them each with a commemorative plaque for their hard work. Amanda Carson gave some brief closing remarks for the event and invited everyone to stay after for lunch, followed by an outdoor business exposition and bazaar to showcase the businesses and products of current graduates.