Women of Substance Celebrated in Washington
By C. Naseer Ahmad

Keeping history in focus, Susan Delbert – Chef, Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club – provided the delicious substance on Feb 28, 2013 that kicked off the Women’s Month with humor and style. She ought to know, after all Chef Delbert was a partner in a law firm and Alaska’s Assistant Attorney General in a previous life. No, she did not claim to have seen Russia from her kitchen window – like Sarah - but she somehow knows what was served on tables a hundred years ago. “Each hors d’oeurvres was commercially introduced or invented in the Suffrage era, beginning in 1912-13”, she said. Participants were enjoyed delicious items like Walnut and Goat Cheese filled dates, Oreos and Tomato Quiche – to name a few.

A day earlier on Feb 27, 2013, “it was a watershed moment for human dignity”, said Rep James Clyburn (D-SC) at the Rosa Parks statue dedication ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington. “She helped change America and she helped change the world,” said President Barack Obama about Rosa Parks who held no public office and whose representation is cast in stone and placed in the Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill not to mention the living memory in hearts and minds around the world.

Images from these events tell how far we have travelled in the quest for human dignity and the role women have played in making this a beautiful world. Nevertheless, for those harboring any doubts, a visit to the Women’s National Democratic Club (WNDC) - a quaint building across town near Dupont Circle - will be a good prescription. Eleanor Roosevelt used the WNDC – established in 1922 - as her podium for her radio addresses.

Currently, WNDC is led by Nusrat (Nucchi) Currier who is serving the fourth year as the Club’s President, normally a one-year term. An aura of grace and poise flows through the simple words Nuchhi speaks. The only other WNDC past president representing the minorities was an African American. Nucchi’s vast experience includes work for United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), UN Department of Publication Information and as a marketing executive for KLM and Royal Jordanian Airlines. She created a comprehensive report for UNICEF covering the progress of the 57 Member States of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) on the agenda of the General Assembly’s Special Session on Children May 2002, in creating a World Fit for Children. A graduate of Kinnaird College Lahore and Columbia University, New York, Nucchi represents the best of Pakistan while leading WNDC effectively.

Dr Fouzia Saeed, a remarkable leader in her own right was the luncheon speaker at WNDC on March 28, 2013. Her recent book “Working with Sharks” provides a gripping account of a case of sexual harassment in the Pakistan Office of the United Nations. She spoke about the struggles working women faced and the efforts to silence their voices. “Silence is the biggest defense of these people,” Dr Saeed said. The persistence and tenacity of Dr Saeed and her colleagues led to a nationwide movement that culminated in the passage of anti-sexual harassment legislation in Pakistan. “It is a universal issue” Dr Saeed added.

So good to hear a positive story coming out of Pakistan,” said a scholar from Tulane University who was present in the audience. Seated on Table 3, Marci Cohen said: “I am an honorary Pakistani” – based on decades old family friendship with Pakistani artist Mansoora Hassan. “Such an interesting variety of backgrounds,” wrote Jane Welstadt, who works for US Department of Labor on Women’s issue.

 

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