March 7, 2006  


Granger Hosts Iraqi/Afghan Women Legislators Breakfast; Under Secretaries Karen Hughes and Paula


WASHINGTON, D.C. — as part of International Women’s Day, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) this morning hosted a roundtable breakfast for Iraqi and Afghan delegates, many of whom are current Cabinet and Parliament Members in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the breakfast, Members of Congress will be shadowed by a specific Iraqi or Afghan delegate. The purpose of the breakfast was to have a dialogue with the women leaders about the status in Iraq and Afghanistan regarding women’s issues, to hear the women’s concerns and to continue to develop the relationship between U.S. Members of Congress and Iraqi and Afghan women leaders. 

“The relationship between Iraqi and Afghan women and U.S. Members of Congress is an important one that we will continue to strengthen,” said Granger. “This is an historic moment. These women leaders, who come from different religions and backgrounds, are working together to help shape the future of their countries and the future for women in their countries. I, along with fellow my colleagues in Congress, stand firmly behind these courageous women leaders and say to them, and all Iraqi and Afghan women: America supports you.”

Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky asked Congresswoman Granger to host the Iraqi and Afghan women delegate’s breakfast based on her extensive involvement and experience with Iraqi women leaders. Granger has led two congressional delegations to Jordan to help train Iraqi women leaders and continues to work with them as Iraq transitions to a democracy. 

Last January, Granger led a delegation to Jordan where she discussed aspects involved in running for office and what her experience as a U. S. Congressional member has been like with 20 Iraqi women candidates. Granger has said the trip was the most incredible of her eight years in Congress and the female candidates were some of the bravest, most courageous women she’s ever met in her life. Granger led a second delegation to Jordan last April, which was attended by 150 Iraqi women legislators and leaders. 

Today, Granger will first be shadowed by Nesreen Barwari, Minister of Municipalities & Public Works, and then later in the day by Mona Noor H. Zalzala, a member of the Iraqi Unified Coalition list. 

Born in Baghdad, Nesreen Barwari became a political prisoner along with her family in 1981 at fourteen years of age and again, ten years later, following the 1991 war. She went on to receive her undergraduate degree in architectural engineering and urban planning at Baghdad University in1991, and earned a graduate degree in public policy and management from Harvard’s University's Kennedy School of Government in 1999. She has worked extensively in emergency relief, reconstruction and resettlement efforts in Iraq. Barwari served as Minister of Reconstruction & Development in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from 1999 to 2003. She currently serves as one of the only female Iraqi Cabinet Members as the Minister of Municipalities & Public Works.

Mona Zalzala was elected to the new Council of Representatives in December.  She lived for a few years in Denmark and returned after the fall of the former regime.

Granger serves on the Appropriations Committee and the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. She also serves as a Deputy Majority Whip. Granger is the first and only female Republican to serve in the Texas House delegation. Granger represents the 12th District of Texas and is currently serving her fifth term in Congress.