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CEO DATELINE — Chamber Foundation effort assists Afghan refugees

Sept. 16, 2021

By William Ehart

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has formed a coalition to help Afghan refugees find jobs. Employers participating in the coalition include Amazon, UPS and Walmart.

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“We know what a job means to an individual and to a community. It means dignity, opportunity, stability and hope for a better future,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the foundation. “Helping meet the urgent needs of Afghan refugees will require all hands to work together.”

The Coalition for Afghan Refugee Employment in the U.S. is working with Welcome.US, a digital hub and national campaign to mobilize support for the refugees. Cawley will serve on the campaign’s National Welcome Council, the honorary co-chairs of which are former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton along with Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Other National Welcome Council members include Josh Bolten, CEO of the Business Roundtable, Sean Kennedy, EVP of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association, Eric Eversole, president of the Chamber Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, and former American Council of Life Insurers CEO Dirk Kempthorne.

The Council also includes numerous corporate executives, artists, actors, religious leaders, former government officials, and other figures including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal (ret.), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Afghan-American novelist Khaled Hosseini, former “West Wing” star Bradley Whitford, Dan Bartlett, EVP of corporate affairs at Walmart, Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, actress Debra Messing and author Deepak Chopra.

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