Congressional Recognition for Sonia Nassery Cole
United States House of Representatives

An event hosted on December 4, 2006 by Ariana Outreach was held in the Ballroom of the Cannon Caucus Congressional Building in Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The Afghan and American Sisterhood Award Gala honored Sonia Nassery Cole.

Sonia was presented with the Certificate of Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives acknowledging her philanthropic activities in the fields of education, economic and social development in Afghanistan as well as raising public awareness of the needs of the Afghan people in the post- war environment.

Transcript of Sonia Nassery Cole’s remarks upon receiving the Congresssional certificate (Dec. 4, 2006)

“Good evening Honorable guests, fellow speakers and dignitaries, and especially Ms Humira Noorestani and her Ariana Outreach Board members.” (Ad lib welcome in Dari)

“I am deeply grateful to be honored before such distinguished guests. I’m accepting the Afghan American Sisterhood Award on behalf of many Afghans and Americans who I have had the privilege of knowing and working with for 20 years.”

“Especially, my parents and my family but foremost is the late President Ronald Reagan, who I first met in 1986, and he inspired and encouraged me to do the work I do today.”

“We thank former President Bill Clinton, as well as President George W. and Mrs. Laura Bush, who have graciously supported the Afghanistan World Foundation.”

“I’m grateful to His Highness The Aga Khan, who has done so much personally and through his Foundations and to my own Governing Board members who have aided in our mission of assisting the reconstruction program in Afghanistan.”

“I wish to special thanks President Hamid Karzai, and tell you something he told me in a conversation about Afghanistan:
“The love of freedom is a nation’s first and only defense against terrorism and oppression.”

“Freedom is desperately needed because of the years of war and suppression by the Soviets. Freedom is needed because of the years of civil war and repression that Afghans experienced during the Taliban regime. The idea of Freedom is like a torch that is lighting the way for Afghanistan.”

“The Afghan American Sisterhood award is a symbol of determination in our individual efforts. Those efforts may seem small to us as we go about our work; but without them there is no hope for progress.”

“If we are committed in our hearts, I believe, the results will absolutely be achieved.”

“The bond between Americans and Afghans became closer after the Soviet occupation in 1979. Afghanistan at that time was one of the most progressive Islamic nations in the world. Women were an essential part of the cultural, commercial, political and professional life of my country.”

” I believe that the future of America, just as much as the future of Afghanistan, is in our hands—your hands and my hands.”

“It has been said that: ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve.”

“It is with our minds that we create the world of tomorrow and beyond.”

“The human heart is a restless hunter. It is drawn to urgent needs, because deep inside we know that all of us are connected – part of one spiritual family that includes every color, every language, every man, woman and child on the face of this earth.”

“As American citizens our God given right to individual freedom and liberty are protected by our Constitution, but our efforts can not stop here; these same rights must include all of mankind. That was the mission of the Afghan struggle for Freedom in Afghanistan, and that is the mission of our troops in Iraq.”

“President Reagan told me that ‘one person can change the world.”

“I do believe that, with commitment, determination and passion, each one of us can make a difference. But we have to be steadfast. We have to be loyal to our own beliefs and convictions.”

“I am humbled by this honor, just as I feel honored when ever I am in Afghanistan and look into the eyes of the Afghan children and I realize how much the work in which all of us are engaged means to them.”

“I want to thank each and every one of you for being here tonight, and these words of gratitude come from the deepest place in my heart.”

“Please look into your heart and in that secret place help us insure Freedom in my beloved Homeland. Thank you.”