I would like to close out this semester’s blog with a note about someone I worked with who gave her life working in communication.
Anne Smedinghoff worked with me at US Embassy Kabul. She was killed in early April while managing press at a school book donation ceremony. The affects have been very tough for everyone in the embassy.
With this note, though, I don’t want to pour sadness all over her memory, but wanted to say that she believed in her work and fought to make a difference in Afghanistan and the world around her … and I think she did.
Often, we communication and public affairs types get stuck in the daily grind. Sometimes it seems like were just spinning our wheels and not making a difference as we slug throug talking points and messaging. I beg to differ though – you and I do make a difference.
Building communication between people is like building a bridge of understanding.
Ann’s death did not wipe away her memory. The State Department and her friends continue to memorialize and celebrate her life and the positive affects she had on the public affairs community. Matter of fact, tonight is “Space / Pirate Night” at the Duck and Cover bar here. It combines some of the things she loves; friends, pirates and space theme parties ; )
Also, in the community where she died, the families and children also honor her. They stand up and face threats and violence every day. They send their children to school, vote, and demand control of their lives.
Ann died too young, but her death hardened the local Afghan resolve to not allow brutality to control them.
And in that way, Ann built a bridge and it led to understanding.