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2012 Lotus Leadership Awards Luncheon
On June 7, 2012, at the second annual Lotus Leadership Awards Luncheon in New York, The Asia Foundation and The Lotus Circle honored a decade-long partnership with the National Geographic Society to improve the lives of girls in Afghanistan through education. Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold said: "Together, we have been able to ensure Afghan girls receive a high-quality education in a positive, safe learning environment." The partnership began in 2002 after photographer Steve McCurry rediscovered Sharbat Gula, the "Afghan girl with the haunting green eyes" he photographed for a 1985 cover of National Geographic. Gula asked the Society to provide education to girls—something she had been denied. Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, also received a Lotus Award for her critical contributions to the education and health of Afghan women and children. Of the battle to educate women, Dr. Yacoobi said: "This fight is not finished." The Lotus Circle is a community of individuals working with The Asia Foundation to advance the rights, roles, and opportunities of women in Asia. The Lotus Leadership Awards were launched, conceived, and organized by Lotus Circle Advisors including 2012 Luncheon Chair Ida Liu and 2012 Vice Chairs Carol Rattray, Missie Rennie, and Masako Shinn, and Gina Lin Chu.