stephenie foster » Archive

Leaving Kabul – But Not Its Spirit

As my time in Kabul comes to a close, I have such mixed feelings and it’s hard for me to capture my feelings precisely.  I am excited to go home, of course, but also sad to leave friends and colleagues, both Afghan and ex-pat, who have meant so much to me here.  Afghanistan is a country with both real possibilities and real challenges.  Like almost everyone here, I lost a good friend to senseless violence, and I will remember Anne and her work for the rest of my life.  And, I also know I am not alone.  I honor the many others, Afghan and ex-pat, who have lost their lives to violence, while doing their jobs and living their lives. For me, honoring that sacrifice means that I admire and support the painstaking work done daily, by Afghans and ex-pats, to tear down … Read entire article »

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

Women & Business Advocacy: My First iBook!

My first iBook is out! This iBook – focusing on women’s business advocacy – is another in my series of manuals designed to help women succeed in business, public life and advocacy, and my co-author is my great friend Lauren Supina. I hope you will take a look and think about using it yourself, or sharing with others. It’s critically important that women business owners and leaders not only build their businesses but also be part of the public dialogue about how to create a better business climate. … Read entire article »

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

Remembering My Dad (and the hot peppers he loved!)

It’s Father’s Day.  I’m in Dubai, having just returned from Sri Lanka and am on my way back to Kabul.  I thinking about my dad and the influence he had on my life.  Dan Foster was an amazing man, in a quiet and humble way.  He was an intellectual who grew up on a farm in Northern California, a man who was always striving to understand the world a little bit better.  He was intellectually curious, and as I grew up was always talking about other places around the world, and the importance of being engaged in your community, country and world.  He encouraged me to do what I wanted (often to his chagrin I am very sure).  He loved my mom, a strong willed woman who was way ahead … Read entire article »

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Part of the Story of Afghanistan

Sometimes I think that all of the stories about Afghanistan have already been told.  I’ve read so many books about life here – stories about life under the Taliban, traveling with the mujahadin, and interactions with Afghans in the near and far reaches of the country.  These stories are about war, loss, resilience, survival, family, sacrifice, love of country.  There are so many of them.  But there is always one more, your story or a story about someone you know.   I think the narratives complete and clash with each other because seemingly everyone here has something compelling to say. It’s a complicated, place. I’ve just returned after a break, and to say that I was gone in a time of great tumult is an understatement. The death of a dear colleague … Read entire article »

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

In Memory of Anne Smedinghoff

I am back in DC and the first thing that I learned after getting to my house was that there had been a deadly attack in Zabul.  I then learned that Anne Smedinghoff was the young diplomat who was senselessly killed, while on her way to deliver books to a school.  Anne was a good friend and colleague in the public affairs section.  We were in training together and landed in Kabul the same day in July of last year.  There are so many things that I could say about her, but her parents said it best. My favorite memory of Anne is when we went to the Rotary Club fundraiser at Strikers bowling alley in Kabul.  When we returned to the Embassy compound, we were giddy – it had … Read entire article »

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Home Again!

I’m back in DC for a few weeks, and looking forward to seeing family and friends.  I realize that I haven’t blogged in a bit, and here’s why.  It’s been a busy month in Kabul, most importantly with Secretary Kerry’s visit and our ability, through his meeting with women entrepreneurs, to highlight the progress of women in business.  I was so proud to work on the event that featured seven women business leaders, and to see its impact.  Here are some links to photos, and also to what Sec. Kerry had to say about the impact of meeting and talking to these women.  I am lucky to meet and work with these courageous and smart women every day and help tell their stories. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cross-Listed/Archives, Latest, Women & Business, Women & Leadership

Writing About Divorce (Law)

Last year, I spent some time writing about divorce – no, not my own – but divorce law and practice in four countries.  Here is my take away.  A country’s laws and practices around divorce are indicative of how a country values women.  I’m pleased that the newly published Cultural Sociology of Divorce contains pieces I wrote about Afghanistan, Armenia, Cameroon and Swaziland, all countries where I’ve worked.  The laws in these countries – all reflect long standing and imbedded views of women in those places.  Interesting process of researching; interesting articles. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cross-Listed/Archives, Current/New, Women & Politics

From Mumbai to the Maldives

What a journey, and an amazing set of contrasts. (As I called it before I left, the “great contrasts tour,” and I was right!”) Mumbai was a lot like I expected – hectic, exciting, historic, overcrowded and yet very comfortable. The colonial influence prevails especially in the Colaba area, with the Taj Hotel, the Prince of Wales Museum, the train station and the University of Mumbai. I loved those sights, and more, but I also loved walking around, shopping in stores of every kind and going into small art galleries and restaurants, where hundreds of Indians and tourists were doing what I was – enjoying themselves. I was in the middle of Katherine Boo’s amazing book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, about life in a Mumbai slum. So, I took the … Read entire article »

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New Pieces Published: Women in Today’s World

I’m excited that the newly published Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World contains seven entries that I authored, including short biographic pieces on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Bahraini businesswoman and Vital Voices Honoree Afnan Al-Zayani, as well as profiles of three great organizations, Kakenya’s School of Excellence (in rural Kenya), Vital Voices Global Partnership and Women for Women International.  This online version of an earlier edition also contains an update of my piece on Women Heads of State.  I wrote these pieces in late 2011, so it’s been quite an interesting experience watching a major work wind its way through the editing and publication process.  It was also wonderful to be able to build on my teaching at American University on women world … Read entire article »

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

Judging the Jessup

This blog was also posted on Huffington Post on February 5, 2013. Stories about Afghanistan are often told in large set pieces about war, violence and regional history.  And in fact those stories are critical to understanding the region, the country and the life that people live.  But I am attracted to the small stories, the details that can easily be missed.   One such story was my recent experience as a judge in Afghanistan’s Jessup Moot Court competition, which was held over several days last week.  By way of background, the Jessup is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 500 law schools in 80 countries.  In this competition, teams of up to five participants argue fictional cases before the International Court of Justice.  The questions of law this … Read entire article »

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