BLISS at a State Department Dinner

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on September 23, 2010 · 3 comments

in In the News, Public Service

Sometimes doing good can get you an amazing dinner invitation.

Gul with Hillary Clinton at a State Department dinner. Photo: Huma Abedin

Gul with Hillary Clinton at a State Department dinner. Photo: Huma Abedin.

Saba Gul ’05, SM ’09 was recently invited by Hillary Clinton to a U.S. State Department Dinner. She was seated next to Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Ambassador, at a 200-person Iftar, a dinner to break the Ramadan fast, on September 7. The State Department dinner is an annual tradition, but this year 70 young change-makers—including Gul—were invited.

In her remarks, Secretary of State Clinton called out Gul’s BLISS program in particular. Gul, a member of a winning 2009 Public Service Center’s IDEAS Competition team, co-founded BLISS (Business and Life Skills School), a social enterprise dedicated to empowering adolescent girls in Pakistan, with Eleni Orphanides ′10.

BLISS girls in Attock. Photo: Saba Gul.

BLISS girls in Attock. Photo: Saba Gul.

BLISS promotes education for high-risk girls and helps them become become self-sufficient via income-boosting skills. The current focus is on Afghan refugee girls in Attock, Pakistan, who used to work at carpet looms for up to 14 hours a day. They are now coming to school plus learning crafts and business skills in after-school classes. An August entry on the BLISS blog describes a visit to the girls in Attock—and shows the beautiful handbags made from their embroidery.

Read Gul’s blog post for a taste of the event’s excitement, photos, and a link to the discussion that preceded the dinner, Generation Change: The Next Generation of American Muslim Leaders. Gul is a software architect working at Thomson Reuters in Minneapolis.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Adams December 2, 2010 at 8:45 am

Truly inspiring. I really hope BLISS helps as many girls as possible.


Lance September 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm

BLISS is an excellent initiative. Keep up the great work!


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