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Simmons College to Offer Full Scholarships to Women from War-Torn Afghanistan

BOSTON (April 7, 2004) — Defying their culture, customs, and in some cases, their families, two young women from war-torn Afghanistan will leave their country and come to Simmons College to further their education and obtain college degrees.

Simmons College is the only college in Massachusetts to offer full, four-year scholarships to Afghani women through the "Initiative To Educate Afghan Women." The Initiative helps Afghan women resume their educations after so many years under strict Taliban rule, when Afghan women were forbidden an education and were punished for trying to learn.

Simmons College has announced that it will accept two Afghan women, aged 17-27, to be chosen this spring by Afghanistan's State Dept. in Kabul. The students, who will be freshmen at Simmons Sept. 2004, are responsible as initiative participants for returning to their country every summer and after graduation to work in Afghanistan's reconstruction efforts.

"Our participation in the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women fits perfectly within the Simmons mission of educating women for power and leadership," said Simmons College President Daniel S. Cheever Jr. "The College is proud to partner with Roger Williams University to support women from Afghanistan who, I am sure, are destined to become leaders in their country."

The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW) was founded by Paula Nirschel, wife of the president of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Nirschel started the program in 2002 after watching news reports about the burkha-shrouded women of Afghanistan, who had been forbidden to take classes during the Taliban rule. Other colleges around the nation also are joining the Initiative.

Simmons College is a nationally recognized, small, private, predominantly women's university in the heart of Boston. It has undergraduate programs for women and graduate programs for women and men.

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