Georgetown University

Commemorating 20 Years of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council

Today marks the 20-year anniversary of the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council (USAWC). On January 28, 2002 President Bush and then Afghan Interim Authority Chairman Karzai announced the establishment of the USAWC to invest in the education, health, economic opportunities, and leadership development of Afghan women and girls. For 20 years, the Council has successfully served as a nexus for efforts to advance the rights and status of Afghan women and children. Now, our work is more important than ever as the country faces the Taliban takeover and the associated repression of women’s rights and participation in civil society. Without the involvement of women, there can be no hope for lasting peace, security, and prosperity in Afghanistan. The Council represents a bi-partisan, long term commitment to Afghan women and to keeping them front and center in the decisions that affect their lives. As we mark 20 years of work together as a Council, with events, discussions, and programs, we continue to stand firmly with the women of Afghanistan. In these troubling times, the Council will amplify the voices and determination of Afghan women as they seek to sustain their rightful place in Afghan society and the future of their country.


The U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council (USAWC) is a non-partisan public-private partnership that convenes governments, civil society and the private sector around the goal of supporting Afghan women and girl’s education, healthcare, economic empowerment and leadership.The Council leverages public and private resources to advance member-driven initiatives and highlights the experiences and needs of Afghan women and girls.   

The U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council (USAWC) was founded in 2002 as a public-private partnership. The USAWC is based out of Georgetown University and is co-chaired by the President of Georgetown University and the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. 

Under the leadership of First Ladies Laura Bush and Hillary R. Clinton, who serve as the Honorary Co-Chairs of the USAWC, the Council has worked to address areas of need identified by Afghan women, convening interested partners and brokering connections to meaningful sustainable platforms.Through the individual initiatives and collaborative efforts of its members, who are leaders in government, the private sector, academia and philanthropy, the Council has taken steps to advance the lives of Afghan women and children.