In 47 years of working in the rug industry, there have been many special international trips, one of which I’ll share with you now. In 2008, a dear friend, Rahim, took me on a particularly memorable adventure. Rahim is a gifted rug designer as well as an accomplished architect. He has a large rug production and is part of one of the biggest weaving families in Afghanistan. He is considered one of the most important artists in the rug world and was invited to show his rugs at the Venice Biennale because of his unique designs — the only rug dealer ever invited to show there. Rahim designed several architectural elements for President Karzai, and on this particular trip, Rahim took me to President Karzai’s summer palace while Karzai was away so we could tour the courtyards, bath houses, and various other elements he had designed.
Later on the same trip, we attended President Karzai’s nephew’s wedding which was a who’s-who event of Kabul’s prominent families. It was a glimpse into a private world that few international people get to see. I felt privileged to accompany my friend on that trip.
Above all of the special experiences, what I value most is the personal relationships — the friendships I’ve made, the weaving families I have come to know during my buying trips to the region. In an area fraught with political challenges, particularly for women and girls, I value that our economic relationship provides opportunity, which is perhaps the greatest good I could hope to achieve through my professional work.