Georgetown initiative connecting Afghan women in exile with scholarships, community

In the last year, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) and its partners have helped evacuate over 1,000 high-risk Afghan women leaders and their families from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, while GIWPS’s Onward for Afghan Women initiative has supported their dignified resettlement, welcoming exiled Afghan women as fellows and students.

The initiative, which connects Afghan women to platforms that allow them to continue their advocacy for women and girls in Afghanistan, includes over 100 evacuated Afghan women leaders.

Related: U.S. colleges, advocacy groups working to support refugee students >

Thanks to donor support, Onward for Afghan Women awarded two Afghan women scholarships to study at Georgetown beginning in August 2022. Both Salma Alokozai, a former director general of macroeconomics and fiscal policy at the Ministry of Finance, and Nasim Gul Azizi, who oversaw programs related to women’s economic empowerment at the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Herat, will pursue a Master’s in Global Human Development at the Walsh School of Foreign Service. GIWPS has also matched 18 Afghan women leaders with fellowships and job opportunities at colleges and universities across the country, including Princeton University, George Washington University, and the University of California.

GIWPS’s team of Afghan women leaders and scholars has had an extraordinary impact on Georgetown students working with the Institute, like Ana Lejava (MSFS ’23), graduate program assistant at GIWPS. “Working on the Onward for Afghan Women initiative as a student coordinator with a fantastic GIWPS team and Afghan women leaders has allowed me to complement my theoretical education with practical experience,” says Lejava. “I am forever inspired by the resilience and courage of our Afghan women partners and will carry these experiences with me moving forward.”

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