Sometimes doing good can get you an amazing dinner invitation.
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 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.