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Remarks at Georgetown University
By Ambassador Said T. Jawad


06/22/2004

President DeGioia,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to you, Mrs. DeGioia and Georgetown University for hosting tonight’s magnificent reception. Among the distinguished guests, I am delighted to see several great friends of Afghanistan. Thank you all for being here tonight.

I cannot thank President DeGioia and Stewart McLaurin enough for their vision and leadership in fulfilling Georgetown University’s mission of bringing people together in service to humanity. Georgetown University was among the first American academic institutions that committed itself to the post 9/11 rebuilding of Afghanistan.

The University is one of our significant international partners helping us achieve our national objectives towards building a democratic and prosperous state in Afghanistan. In July 2002 and July 2003, Georgetown University hosted two significant summits on the recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan. Both summits have generated positive outcomes raising public awareness about our national priorities and encouraging the private sector to invest in the longer-term development of Afghanistan.

President Karzai delivered his first historic address to more than 3,000 Afghan Americans here at Georgetown on January 27, 2002. The enthusiastic audience was emotionally moved by the President’s strong and visionary message about rebuilding Afghanistan. He encouraged Afghans to return home and contribute to the reconstruction efforts, while telling Afghan students, “You are the future of our country, so work hard, study well, make money, and bring it to Afghanistan.”

In support of President Karzai’s above message and realizing the crucial role that education plays in the state building process in my country, Georgetown University has provided a number of major scholarships and fellowships to qualified Afghans to study at the University and then assist in the rebuilding process of our homeland.

I am thankful to Georgetown University for its long-term assistance in this regard, which is already bearing positive results. I am pleased to let know you that a second Afghan “Hoya,” Ashraf Haidari—recipient of the Georgetown University Peace Scholarship for graduate studies at the School of Foreign Service—has recently joined our Embassy as Government & Media Relations Officer, and is actively contributing to Afghanistan. I hope that Georgetown University will continue training qualified Afghans enabling them to serve and help lead Afghanistan in the future.

Based on our strong relations with the University, we have also recruited interns from Georgetown. In addition to working hard to help our Embassy, Georgetown interns with the School of Foreign Service have learned many skills and gained first-hand experience in public diplomacy focusing on the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan. The interns were of tremendous assistance to us during President Karzai’s recent visit to the US.

Last week, the President concluded his successful trip to the United States. He reported on our government’s numerous achievements and thanked the American government and people for their strong support of Afghanistan’s reconstruction since the ouster of the Taliban two and a half years ago.

The President stopped at Fort Drum to thank US soldiers for their sacrifices. He and President Bush participated in the G-8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia. His trip was highlighted by the distinct privilege of being invited to address the Members of the US Congress in the Joint Meeting on June 15.

President Karzai also paid his final respects to President Reagan, who fought alongside Afghans to end the tyranny of the Evil Empire. We will succeed in our new common fight against terrorism. The bond of friendship and partnership between our governments, nations, and various institutions are growing. We appreciate your friendship and support very much.

Thank you, Stewart, for offering Georgetown’s facilities for our use throughout President Kazari’s recent visit to Washington, DC. Had his tight schedule allowed him, President Karzai would have addressed the Afghan community at Georgetown again. But he looks forward to doing so during his next visit to the United States.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the entire Georgetown University body: the University’s leadership, faculty, students, and alumni for your sincere assistance and commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Without partnership with the international community and dedicated organizations such as Georgetown, we would be unable to maintain our successes and achieve our remaining goals.

Thank you.