Week 2 at US Institute of Peace

Hello all,

I had a wonderful second week at USIP. A State Department contact recommended that we make contact with an Afghan woman who has recently come to the United States as a refugee. My team has now met twice with Gharghashta and her story is phenomenal. She was a member of Parliament in Afghanistan from 2006-2011 and has been a huge advocate on behalf of women and youth rights. Though she did not seek reelection, Gharghashta did continue advocating for women and youth rights within her job with the media. Recently, she and her immediate family had to flee Afghanistan suddenly because of increasingly violent threats by the Taliban, who are opposed to Gharghashta's progressive, democratic platform. Please note that I have permission to use her name and share this information.

It is clear that Gharghashta has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which will prove very helpful in vetting and adding to USIP's Rule of Law materials on Afghanistan. She will be assisting our team as a part-time consultant. We will also be working on a blog series with her, so she can share about her personal experiences to the public as well. I am very excited about this partnership because Gharghashta seems thrilled to be able to continue helping her country and its people. She told me that she needs to do this to have proper meaning in her life. I am certain that USIP and the global community will benefit from the valuable information she will provide. I wish her and her family a bright future in the United States and feel truly honored to be working with her this summer.

This week, I have continued working through our digital library on Afghanistan Rule of Law materials. I am near completing my initial audit of our resources. While working on a giant Excel assignment is tedious at times, I know this is a vital step before being able to properly vet and update the resources. I try to maintain my focus and drive by taking breaks from the spreadsheet every couple hours and actually reading some of the materials I come across. Also, USIP has an information gathering system that generates emails with useful information that has come out in global news pertaining to particular teams' assignments, so I have been receiving great, current data on Afghanistan. Moreover, I have enjoyed reading the weekly update emails that speak to which various USIP staffers have had work published or successfully completed projects for the week. Bye for now!