Kabul, Afghanistan – 13 June 2013 – The International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development (ICAWED), a research, advocacy, and business development center of the American University of Afghanistan, hosted its first conference from June 10 to 11, 2013, at its newly dedicated facility in Kabul.
The conference, titled “New Perspectives on Women in Business,” brought together businesswomen from six Afghan provinces, along with Turkey, and Kazakhstan, to discuss a number of topics aimed at informing and challenging the participants. The panel discussion topics focused on how to think creatively in business, expand into new markets, access venture capital, benefit from business mentorship, and overcome the unique obstacles for women in business. In addition, the event promoted regional cooperation, with the goal of exposing participants to the experience of businesswomen from countries with similar business environments. The Afghan businesswomen in attendance were encouraged to consider markets outside of Afghanistan’s borders in the development of their business strategies.
“Our center is barely two weeks old, but we don’t have the time to sit back and admire it,” said ICAWED Executive Director Nilofar Sakhi. “Now is the time to act with a sense of urgency to create a framework where women are supported in their business aspirations for the years and decades to come. Afghan business women’s association building will play a role in this. So will access to expert advice from those who understand the regional markets and what products and services are in demand. Sound ideas are rarely conceived in a vacuum, and we’re confident that all of the participants at this event will take something valuable away from these expert panels and focused discussions.”
The center is dedicated to the promotion of workplace opportunities for women and gender equality in all spheres of Afghan life. Its mission is to promote, coordinate, collaborate, and connect the numerous public and private sector entities engaged in the economic empowerment of women, and also to focus on developing a national agenda for businesswomen and female entrepreneurs.
The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) is the nation’s only private, not-for-profit, non-partisan, co-educational university. Opening its doors in 2006, now has over 1,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. It is modeled on the great American universities in Beirut and Cairo that have had such an enduring impact on regional social and economic development.