BLISS at a State Department Dinner

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on September 23, 2010

in In the News, Public Service

Sometimes doing good can get you an amazing dinner invitation.

Gul with Hillary Clinton at a State Department dinner. Photo: Huma Abedin

Gul with Hillary Clinton at a State Department dinner. Photo: Huma Abedin.

Saba Gul ’05, SM ’09 was recently invited by Hillary Clinton to a U.S. State Department Dinner. She was seated next to Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Ambassador, at a 200-person Iftar, a dinner to break the Ramadan fast, on September 7. The State Department dinner is an annual tradition, but this year 70 young change-makers—including Gul—were invited.

In her remarks, Secretary of State Clinton called out Gul’s BLISS program in particular. Gul, a member of a winning 2009 Public Service Center’s IDEAS Competition team, co-founded BLISS (Business and Life Skills School), a social enterprise dedicated to empowering adolescent girls in Pakistan, with Eleni Orphanides ′10.

BLISS girls in Attock. Photo: Saba Gul.

BLISS girls in Attock. Photo: Saba Gul.

BLISS promotes education for high-risk girls and helps them become become self-sufficient via income-boosting skills. The current focus is on Afghan refugee girls in Attock, Pakistan, who used to work at carpet looms for up to 14 hours a day. They are now coming to school plus learning crafts and business skills in after-school classes. An August entry on the BLISS blog describes a visit to the girls in Attock—and shows the beautiful handbags made from their embroidery.

Read Gul’s blog post for a taste of the event’s excitement, photos, and a link to the discussion that preceded the dinner, Generation Change: The Next Generation of American Muslim Leaders. Gul is a software architect working at Thomson Reuters in Minneapolis.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Adams December 2, 2010 at 8:45 am

Truly inspiring. I really hope BLISS helps as many girls as possible.

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Lance September 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm

BLISS is an excellent initiative. Keep up the great work!

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