Ambassador James Knight welcomed back eight teenage Muslim girls from their three-week long Women2Women exchange program in Boston, MA, and explained the significance of this program to the 13 media organizations present. In turn, the girls elaborated about the brief but intense “W2W” experience — leadership workshops, conflict resolution seminars, and trust building exercises. They loved Boston and the high points for all were the visit to Harvard and meeting former Congressman Joe Kennedy. They oozed a new-found confidence and their English skills had greatly improved. Seven of the eight are interested in eventually running for public office, while the eighth wants to become an air traffic controller or a transportation accident investigator. The Ambassador and all the new alumnae were interviewed by the enthusiastic media, in both French and Arabic. One girl remarked, “Undoubtedly the program has changed my life; I am stronger and more confident than before, I am able to change my life and the lives of other women … I am able to defend my rights. I have the right to express myself and to take the lead…. I am free and no one can prevent me from being free!”
The session offered the Ambassador, PAS staff and the media an opportunity to listen to young Chadian Muslim women speak about their experiences in the U.S. and illustrate the impact of the Women2Women program in promoting women rights.