Julia Bolz is a women’s rights activist providing social guidance to countries in the Middle East, Africa, Central America, and Central Asia. She founded the Journey with an Afghan School program after 9/11 to help bridge the cultural divide between the U.S. and Afghanistan particularly by increasing the educational opportunities afforded to young women. Before joining the grassroots movement for gender equality, she worked at one of Seattle’s most prestigious law firms, Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland. She received Seattle’s Tom C. Wales Citizenship Award for her combined humanitarian efforts. Bolz graduated from Smith College.
Julia Bolz: I’m optimistic. And I think for those of us who are engaged in the world, I feel that people are good within. In fact we have many similarities. One of the things that I have found in my work is that whenever I’ve had a chance to sit down and have a cup of coffee with someone, albeit in the former Soviet Union or Afghanistan, I find that we have so much in common. We have the same hopes and dreams for each others’ kids. We want food on the table. We want them educated. We want a house over their heads. And the similarities are there. It’s not the differences. It’s the similarities. And I remember one of my colleagues said to me when I was working in Russia. He said, “If only they’d had more conversations like this during the Cold War, maybe we wouldn’t have had it.” And I love comments like that. I think it’s very true.