By Nina Easton
February 19, 2015

The discovery of heroes is rarely linear or obvious. They usually sneak up on you. Afghanistan’s new first lady, Rula Ghani, is that kind of woman.

In an interview at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Wednesday night, this unassuming former stay-at-home mom courageously issued a series of “dares.”

She dared Islamic fundamentalists to reach back in their own history to recall the role of strong, influential women. And she made those remarks even though, as a Lebanese-born Christian, she suffered vicious media attacks from Afghan conservatives during her husband’s presidential campaign.

She dared Afghan students who have studied abroad on scholarship to pay their dues by coming home to help the country rebuild.

She dared foreign aid agencies to stop creating a culture of dependency, and instead focus on teaching Afghans how to build their own society.

She dared the Western press to stop portraying Afghanistan as a hopeless backwater.

And she dared the world to see Afghan woman in war-torn provinces operating as peacemakers, subtly negotiating with the Taliban to better their day to day lives.

To see the full interview debuting the vision of this remarkable woman—trained as a journalist, fluent in five languages and now dedicated to Afghanistan’s future—follow this link to the “Smart Women Smart Power” iTunes podcast:


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