The Foreign Affairs Symposium is Proud to Present
The Inaugural Anne Smedinghoff Memorial Event
An Award Ceremony Honoring Shabana Basij-Rasikh
April 11th at 8pm
Last April, bright, young alumna Anne Smedinghoff (’09) was killed in a suicide bomb attack in southern Afghanistan while trying to deliver books to underserved school children. A former Executive Director of the Foreign Affairs Symposium, her passing had a profound impact on our organization and the Johns Hopkins University. With the Inaugural Anne Smedinghoff Memorial Event, we seek to commemorate her life and acknowledge those committed to her values: education, development and global harmony. This year we are honoring Shabana Basij-Rasikh for her unwavering dedication to women’s education, even under perilous circumstances in Afghanistan.
About Anne, the Award’s Namesake
Anne was killed in a suicide bombing in Southern Afghanistan on April 6, 2013, while delivering books to a local school as a US diplomat. Anne joined the State Department right out of college and worked for a year in Caracas, Venezuela before volunteering for an assignment in Kabul. According to her colleagues, Anne had a passion for hands-on projects that put her directly in the middle of global challenges. From starting a women’s soccer league to developing a music program for rural children, Anne was committed to finding grassroots initiatives that improved the lives of Afghan women and children. Anne will always be a remarkable role model to those of us interested in global affairs and public service.
Anne’s passion was evident as early as her collegiate years, when she served as a Director of our 2008 Symposium. Her friends and peers assert that she led in the same way that she worked: focused on increasing discourse and striving towards educating others. To stay true to her goal, we have decided to annually recognize a leader who embodies her message, and raise money to support students interested in her career path. To read more about Anne, see the Hub’s coverage of her passing.
About Shabana, the Inaugural Award Recipient
Shabana was born and raised in Kabul under the reign of the Taliban, and was thus not allowed to attend school. She grew up attending school in secret, dressing as a boy to escort her sister to class each day. Under a competitive program through the US State Department, she attended high school in the US and then went to Middlebury College, where she graduated magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies. While at Middlebury, she founded HELA, a foundation dedicated to raising money to build schools outside her town in Afghanistan. After graduation, she founded SOLA, the School of Leadership, Afghanistan, a boarding school for girls. In this capacity, she not only works directly with underserved girls in Afghanistan, but also advocates worldwide for expanded education. Her TED Talk is here. Her Foundation Page is here.