Yesterday the Japan Support Group for the Asian University for Women (AUW) held a film screening to benefit the university. The film, a PBS documentary, “Peace Unveiled” which is part of the series “Women, War and Peace” showed how women are fighting to have a voice in the politics against the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is the exemplary work of filmmaker Abigail Disney and it reaffirms the commitment of American Public Broadcasting to bring the issues to the community.
The stars of the day, however, were the two young women, second-year-students at AUW, who flew from Chitagong, Bangladesh to be with us. They, along with the vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr. Fahima Aziz, talked about the school, the opportunities it offers and truly gave the audience a taste of the bravery it takes to commit to an education outside of one’s home country when gender issues are rife in the area of the world from which they hail. One of the girls is from Afghanistan, and she talked about the opportunity to learn as well as the very political and strong act of writing. Writing one’s story, she said, is as important as getting into politics. She, who essentially fled the Taliban and grew up in a refugee camp, has discovered her voice. The other young woman is from Nepal. She talked about learning not only the lessons her wonderful, international teachers teach her, but also about finding herself and being a role model for the girls of her home village.
Dr. Aziz, committed fully to the needs of these young women, spoke passionately about the students, their abilities and their hard work. From her I heard how every day is something new and different – these girls appreciate everything they see and have and do. She talked about the girls’ internships, learning experiences, and leadership. They all have such very bright futures.
The entire afternoon was an inspiration.
My children were in the audience, and later, we were able to talk about how lucky they are to have the opportunity to go to such wonderful schools in Tokyo now, and the presumed university educations in their future. Education is something to appreciate, not take for granted.
Thank you AUW, Dr. Aziz, Raihana and Rasani for being an inspiration to us all.