Event Recap

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Oct 28, 2020

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani: Women’s rights cannot be ‘the cost of peace’

By David A. Wemer

The progress Afghan women have made in the years since the fall of the Taliban regime could be at risk, Ghani said, should the Taliban be given too much power as part of a peace settlement.

Afghanistan Civil Society

With ongoing talks on peace and stability after years of conflict, Afghanistan entered a new phase. As the government and the Taliban negotiated peace, questions remained regarding the future of gender equality and minority rights in the country. What will it take to ensure long-term security without compromising on the rights of women and minorities in Afghanistan? How do the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic impact the ability to sustain democratic institutions in the country?

Building upon their longstanding partnership to promote women’s rights in Afghanistan, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and the George W. Bush Institute hosted a virtual conversation with First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani and former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush on these issues and to lend their insight into what will need to be done to ensure an equitable and inclusive peace. 

This live event was part of the Atlantic Council’s #ACFrontPage event series, an ideas platform spotlighting global leaders who are championing constructive solutions to global challenges.


H.E. Rula Ghani

First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Mrs. Laura Bush

Former First Lady of the United States

Introduction & welcome remarks by​​​

Ambassador Paula Dobriansky
Senior Fellow, Harvard University Belfer Center; 
Former US Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs;
Vice Chair, Scowcroft Center for Strategy & Security
, Atlantic Council ​​​​​

Moderated by

Ms. Lael Mohib 
Enabled Children Initiative USA

Ms. Holly Kuzmich 
Executive Director 
The George W. Bush Institute

An #ACFrontPage Event

Atlantic Council Front Page is our premier live ideas platform for global leaders to discuss the defining challenges of our time. #ACFrontPage is a high-level event series featuring top newsmakers across multiple digital platforms. Harnessing the convening power and expertise of the Council’s sixteen programs and centers, #ACFrontPage leverages the Council’s capabilities in social media, press, and digital outreach to spotlight the world’s most prominent leaders and the most compelling ideas across sectors and engage new audiences eager for nonpartisan and constructive solutions to current global challenges. This widely promoted program features the Council’s most important guests and content serving as the highlight of our programming.

The South Asia Center is the hub for the Atlantic Council’s analysis of the political, social, geographical, and cultural diversity of the region. ​At the intersection of South Asia and its geopolitics, SAC cultivates dialogue to shape policy and forge ties between the region and the global community.

The Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization that develops leaders, advances policy, and takes action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.