Women’s History Month Celebration

The Increasing Role of Women in Political Reform, Human Rights and Cultural Awareness
Thursday, March 16, at 10:30 a.m.

AAFSW cordially invites you to join us for our ninth annual Women’s History Month panel discussion entitled “The Increasing Role of Women in Political Reform, Human Rights and Cultural Awareness.”

The program will take place in the William Burns Auditorium in the State Department’s George Marshall Center on Thursday, March 16 at 10:30 a.m.

We will feature several accomplished women who have contributed to advancing women’s causes in important ways: Her Excellency Ambassador Vlora Çitaku, of the Republic of Kosovo; Betsy McKinney, Founder and CEO of It’s Time to Network, writer, speaker, philanthropist and social entrepreneur from San Francisco; and Roya Hakakian a writer and poet, a native of Iran who currently resides in Connecticut.

Please RSVP by Friday, March 10th to office@aafsw.org. All attendees without a State Department badge will need to provide their date of birth and a driver’s license or passport number to submit to the Office of Security at the State Department. The charge for the program is $18.00 per person. Please send your information plus a check made out to AAFSW to our headquarters at 4001 North Ninth Street, Suite 214, Arlington VA, 22203.

Guests should enter at the State Department’s 21st Street entrance (between C Street and Virginia Avenue NW) no later than 10:15 a.m. The George Marshall Center is on the left side of the 21st Street lobby.

We will have an informal coffee and tea social time, which begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by the presentation beginning at 11:00 a.m. and ending no later than noon.

We look forward to seeing you.

Sheila Switzer
AAFSW Program Chair


H.E. Vlora Çitaku, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo

Vlora Çitaku was a refugee during the Kosovo War and has been involved with politics since 1999. She states that she has happily overcome many of the stereotypes in politics that one must be old and a man to serve effectively. She formerly served as the Consul General of Kosovo in New York

Vlora Çitaku was only a teen when she became interpreter and a stringer for major Western news outlets at the onset of the Kosovo civil war. She later became a refugee during the war and has been involved with politics since 1999. She initially became spokesperson for the KLA and joined the PDK after the formation of the party in the post-war Kosovo. She was a Member of Parliament in two mandates. She states that she has happily overcome the stereotypes in politics that one must be old and a man.

She also served as the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs between 18 October 2010 and 22 February 2011.Before joining Kosovo’s diplomacy, Vlora served as Minister for European integration of the Republic of Kosovo. She was noted as one of the most successful ministers of the 2011-2014 Kosovo government. She relinquished her MP seat in the Kosovo Assemblyupon taking the governmental position, which she won as one of the top three most voted candidates.


Betsy McKinney

Betsy_1984Betsy McKinney – mother, writer, speaker, philanthropist and social entrepreneur, is the Founder and CEO of It’s Time Network, a growing community of people and organizations working to achieve gender equality, evolve democracy and build fair economies that regenerate the Earth. In May of 2016, It’s Time Network published the first ever, Mayor’s Guide: Accelerating Gender Equality©.
She serves as a Board Director of the Women Donors Network, and an active member of Women Moving Millions and Alliance for Girls. She also manages Faraway Foundation, a 501c3 private foundation. She speaks nationally and internationally, was a columnist for an award winning small town newspaper in Telluride, Colorado, and in 2011 she wrote a Declaration of Interdependence©.
Betsy currently lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.




Roya Hakakian

Roya Hakakian is a writer. Her opinion columns, essays and book reviews appear in English language publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and NPR’s All Things Considered among many others. She has collaborated on over a dozen hours of programming for leading journalism units in network television, including CBS 60 Minutes. She currently serves as an editorial board member of World Affairs and is a founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies around the world, including La Regle Du Jeu, Strange Times My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature. In 2008, she received a Guggenheim prize in nonfiction. It enabled her to complete the work on her most recent book, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace (Grove/Atlantic), about Iran’s terror campaign against exiled dissidents in Western Europe received the Asian American Literary Award for best non-fiction book in 2013. It was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2011, made Newsweek’s Top Ten Not-to-be-missed books and was among Kirkus Reviews Best Non-Fictions in the same year. Her account of the work of the German prosecutor of the case, a modern day Atticus Finch, moved the US Federal Bar Association to establish “the Rule of Law Award,” the first of which was bestowed upon that prosecutor in 2014 at the Daniel Moynihan Federal Courthouse in New York City. Her memoir of growing up a Jewish teenager in post-revolutionary Iran, Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran (Crown) has been a celebrated Freshman Experience book at a number of colleges in the US. It was a Barnes and Noble’s Pick of the Week, Ms. Magazine Must Read of the Summer, Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, Elle Magazine’s Best Nonfiction Book of 2004, and was named Best Memoir by the Connecticut Center for the Book in 2005 and has been translated into several languages. Most recently, Roya has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars working on a new book.

Born and raised in a Jewish family in Tehran, Roya came to the United States in May 1985 on political asylum. She lives in Connecticut.