Spotlight on AUAF

In 2019, Founder Christine Drinan guest lectured at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), in the capital city of Kabul. Thus began Galavante’s deep involvement and interest in the education of Afghan women. AUAF is a world-class university, that is considered the very best in the Middle East. Students graduate with degrees including engineering, data science, business and law. No matter what they study though, they leave as leaders.

Education is the Answer

AUAF was the brainchild of former First Lady Laura Bush. Mrs. Bush had the vision that the most impactful changes in Afghanistan would be through education. AUAF was established in 2006 with 51 students, one of whom was a woman. For context, in 2001, only 5,000 girls were in school. This is an astounding statistic, given the population of 21 million people at the time. That was not University level-either; it’s school of any type. The oppression of the Taliban had devastating impact on women’s education and human rights.

A School of Leadership

Since its inception in 2006, AUAF made great strides in education. AUAF has the top STEM program in the Middle East. Thousands of students have graduated from AUAF, and were leaders across all industries, including government, business, law. Currently, AUAF educates over 1,000 students, 45% of whom are women.

The Fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban

In August 2021, the Afghan government collapsed to the Taliban. It is well-documented that the Taliban have a target list, that includes anyone who affiliated with Americans. Anyone affiliated with AUAF is in extreme danger. Unspeakable acts and complete disrespect for human life characterize the current situation in Afghanistan. The situation is dire. Besides the danger, COVID risks and vulnerability of women especially, there are extreme food shortages.

AUAF Today

A new AUAF campus will be established in Doha, Qatar. Additionally, the American University of Iraq Sulaimani in Kurdistan, the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, and Bard College in the United States are hosting students. For those current students who are not in one of those locations, online classes are available. It’s a new normal, given these extreme challenges. As the school has stated, AUAF is not just a place, it’s the people.

How We Help

The Galavante in the World Foundation was established so we could most effectively assist AUAF alumnae. We currently support over a dozen women and their families, including scholarships, evacuation and living expenses. One of our greatest joys, was the privilege to award our first scholarship to Sara Hakimi. Sara is at Georgetown University, where she will earn a Masters in Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. The $75,000 scholarship will cover her apartment and modest living expenses for her two year program.

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