stephenie foster » Archive

Dr. Abdi: Keeps Hope Alive

I just finished this amazing – and inspiring – autobiography of Dr. Hawa Abdi and her work in Somalia.  I’ve heard Dr. Abdi speak several times, and met one of her courageous daughters, Dr. Deqo Abdi.  But, the book provides so much more insight than those interactions.  It gives a clear and nuanced account of her life, her accomplishments, her challenges and her work.  Somalia is a tough place to do this work – taking in families, providing needed health care and other services. While most would shy away from the challenges, or be deterred by them, Dr. Abdi and her daughters are not.  But the book is much more than a guide to her work and her determination, it is a portrait of a real woman who faces personal and family challenges, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Book Reviews, Current/New, Women & Leadership

IFES Alum – That’s Me!

Privileged to be interviewed by IFES for my work:  IFES Alum Continues to Empower Women Around the World You are currently a Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. What does this work entail? Overall, the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI), headed by Ambassador Catherine M. Russell, seeks to ensure that women’s issues are fully integrated in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy. S/GWI works to promote stability, peace and development by empowering women politically, socially, and economically around the world. My responsibility as a Senior Policy Advisor is to oversee S/GWI’s work on women, peace and security issues, women’s economic empowerment and women’s political participation. There is a lot to do every day as we move these issues forward, both here … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Elections, Regions, Women & Leadership, Women & Politics

Women’s Political Participation: Arab Spring or Arab Autumn?

Honored to have been a part of this important panel at the Woodrow Wilson Center on women’s participation: “Arab Spring or Arab Autumn: Women’s Political Participation in the Arab Uprisings and Beyond.” … Read entire article »

Filed under: Latest, Regions, Women & Leadership, Women & Politics

“Higher Education Today” Focuses on American University of Afghanistan

I am usually the interviewer or moderator, but I was honored to be on Steven Roy Goodman’s television program, “Higher Education Today” to talk about the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).  The other guest was my friend Leslie Schweitzer who is on the board of trustees for AUAF, and also is the founder and chair of Friends of AUAF.  Here’s the link. As an aside, I took this photo last winter from the administration building at AUAF, looking out toward Darul Aman Palace. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Women & Leadership

Secretary Kerry: Advancing Afghan Women

It isn’t the first time I have heard Secretary Kerry talk about the importance of women to Afghanistan’s future – but it might have been in the most beautiful venue, Gaston Hall at Georgetown University.  Secretary Kerry joined former Secretary Clinton, former First Lady Laura Bush, and many others in a bi-partisan show of support for Afghan women. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry made a compelling case for the progress Afghanistan has made since the fall of the Taliban.  As he said:  “in 2001 …there were only 900,000 Afghan children in school, and all of them were boys. Today, nearly 8 million students are in school, and more than a third of them are girls. …In 2001, maternal mortality was 1,600 per 100,000 births; today, it’s down by 80 percent. In 2001, life expectancy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Latest, Women & Leadership, Women & Politics

HuffPost: Review of Martha Johnson’s “On My Watch”

Here is my Huffington Post review of Martha Johnson’s new book, On My Watch:  Leadership, Innovation & Personal Resilience.  A great read for anyone who is interested in how leaders at every level of an organization can think about innovation, transparency, and organizational design. It comes from someone who has literally been there, in the most exhilarating and most difficult of organizational and personal times, and is willing to share her story. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Book Reviews, Women & Business, Women & Leadership

HuffPo: Lean In and Reach Out!

Here’s the latest, with some things I took away from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.  I found it to be a conversation starter. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Book Reviews, Cross-Listed/Archives, Current/New, Latest, Topics, Women & Business, Women & Leadership

HuffPo Review: A Fort of Nine Towers

Here’s my latest Huffington Post piece, my first in eight months! It’s a review of Qais Akbar Omar’s new book, A Fort of Nine Towers: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Readings

Change is Constant

As much things change, they stay the same. And, we change but stay the same. It’s been about six weeks since I’ve returned from Kabul.  As I’ve walked and driven around Washington, DC, San Francisco and New York City these last six weeks, I have a heightened awareness of just those two points. What’s different since my return?  Little things like a bookstore is now an H&M; a post office now a restaurant; there is building where a parking lot once was; another is gone. Bigger things like I see the world a little differently because like everyone, I am changed by my experiences, the highs and lows, the people we meet and places we inhabit.  I have a great group of new friends from Kabul, and they have made my life … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New

Living Two Lives

After 13 months in Kabul, I am home in Washington, DC.  I love every minute of being at home, but find myself living in two parallel universes.  I am back in my pre-Kabul life, but find myself drawn to seeing what my Kabul friends are up to at any given time.  Facebook is great for that.   The best analogy is to a political campaign, and I have done many of those, but this is different because you literally live and work with the same people on the same small piece of land for weeks and months at a time. Like a small town, you develop close relationships and know way too much about a lot of your colleagues.  You bond by going through good and bad times, and through personal and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Latest, Regions