During the historic visit of H.E. Dr. Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United States from 22 March to 26 March, the President spent one day in New York. There, he engaged with representatives of the United Nations, key international thought leaders, media, and members of the academic community to strengthen Afghanistan’s relations with the international community and the American public.
President Ghani met with H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program. The Secretary-General said that Afghanistan continued to be a priority for the United Nations, and he praised President Ghani for his leadership and reform-minded government. President Ghani thanked the Secretary-General for standing alongside Afghanistan as a friend throughout his tenure. Later that evening, the Secretary-General hosted President Ghani for a private dinner at his residence.
In addition, the President and his delegation engaged the American public, including foreign policy thought leaders and the academic community, through speeches at the Council for Foreign Relations and Columbia University. At the Council on Foreign Relations, the President of the Council, Dr. Richard Haass introduced President Ghani and welcomed his delegation. Former Secretary of the US treasury Dr. Robert Rubin presided over the conversation in front of an audience of over 300 as President Ghani described his government’s reform agenda. “We have chosen unity over division,” he said, “That means political consensus is key.”
President Ghani also had a meeting with the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, during which the two took steps to deepen collaboration between the government of Afghanistan and Human Rights Watch and discussed further possibilities for partnership. The President also undertook engagements with the media, including meetings with the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Editorial Boards.
Overall, the New York trip allowed President Ghani to share his vision for the future of Afghanistan with key international partners and to renew support for the country and his government’s reform agenda. The upcoming 70th United Nations General Assembly (and also the 70th anniversary of the Untied Nations) may provide President Ghani with another opportunity to return to New York this year.