You certainly have a sense of adventure. From Williams you taught eighth-grade special education in Harlem before moving to schools in under-resourced areas of Boston and Honduras. This experience in cross-cultural settings you then put to dramatic use with Turquoise Mountain, the non-governmental organization founded by Britain’s Prince Charles to revive the cultural and economic heart of Kabul. Once a crossroads of ancient civilizations on the Silk Route, the city’s old town had been devastated by thirty years of war. After serving as a volunteer, you became CEO. Under your leadership, the group removed more than thirty thousand cubic meters of rubble, repaired and rebuilt more than one hundred and fifty traditional earth homes, and restored water, power, and sanitation. The group’s Institute for Afghan Art and Architecture now trains each year more than 200 city residents in traditional crafts—bringing economic empowerment and spawning artistic excellence that has earned showings at The Smithsonian and the prestigious Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. You also built a community health clinic and a school that serves more than two hundred boys and girls. All of this you have navigated in a part of the world unused to working with women in leadership. Always ready for the next adventure, you are now beginning to apply this model of social renewal to Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, and we can only imagine where next.
In recognition of your distinguished achievement in cultural redevelopment, Williams College is proud to honor you with its Bicentennial Medal.
September 15, 2018