Today at the NYAC Saturday morning Judo program we had special guest Ali Moghadas. Mr. Moghadas has been in NYC directing a new episode of Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell, now filming its third season. The show airs every Thursday night 10pm/9c in the Food Network channel and it is a reality show about top restaurants in need of a new executive chef. The program shows Anne Burrell, a Food Network Chef, putting the top four contestants to one of the toughest job interview of their lives. The winner of the challenges is rewarded with its dream job and becomes the executive chef of a top restaurant. Besides being a well known director in the entertaining business, Mr. Moghadas is also excellent at the martial art of Judo. At a younger age he almost made into the USA Olympic team, however, his love for the camera drove him away from the art of judo into the art of cinematography. Even though Mr. Moghadas has left the judo competitive scene, he still practicing and coaching when time allows. Today we were very lucky to have Mr. Moghadas joining us on coaching the children judo program at the New York Athletic Club.
After the judo program we headed out for brunch at this charming bakery across the street. Having brunch at Le Pain Quotidien on Saturdays has become part of tradition for us. As we are having brunch I looked around the table and I noticed the powerful minds that were gathered together at that specific time and how each one of us seemed to be fully engaged on the topics and current issues we were discussing. I felt like I was part this unique and powerful brainstorming process and a wonderful idea was about to burst at any moment! On my left was sitting Ali Moghadas (Director of the tv show Chef Wanted), next to him was Francesco Rulli, the visionary entrepreneur behind many companies like Film Annex, Women Annex, M.T.I. USA, and initiatives like The Women Empowerment in Apheganistan and Southeast Asia, right across from me was sitting Thomas Courtney, president of Models Web TV, and on my right side was sitting Cara Rulli, Mr. Rulli's wife.
It was the perfect time for me to pick on the brain of these successful people and learn more about what did take them to reach such a level of success in their career. However, in instead of asking a lot of question, I decide it would be wise to listen and absorb as much as I could as they debate each other on various topics. What an experience it was!
The topics went from reality tv, to food, restaurants and chefs, to models and the modeling business, until it arrived at Afghanistan and women. Francesco Rulli is without a doubt an expert on this subject, so he easily became the focus of attention on the table. Mr. Rulli has been very active in many initiatives to help Afghanistan women. He has launched the Afghan Development Project, which has built classrooms in Afghanistan equipped with computers and online curriculum. He also launched Women Annex, a self-sustaining digital platform created and managed by Afghan women which promotes and supports women's empowerment.
As I listen to the discussion about Afghanistan and Afghan women, I still find it hard to believe that this place exists. A places on earth, the same planet earth we are all part of, that treat women in despicable ways.
Coming from brazil where women are treated and have the same rights as men, I would never believe a place like Afghanistan where women was so mistreated would exist. Once again I have to thank technology for breaking all barriers and showing the world the true facts. I am grateful that Afghan women can now access the world wide web and see that not the entire world is made off the same cruel rules that govern their own country. The Afghan women can see that in some places like Brazil, women hold the highest and most powerful position in a country, the presidency. Places like Brazil can be a role model for women an how to become self-sufficient and independent. Brazil is a developing country headed by a women, Dilma Rousseff, and with more and more women taking leadership positions and showing the world that we all should be judged on our skills and abilities and not our gender. Brazilian women are doing a good job in showing that the world has no place for gender discrimination anymore.
What makes Brazil a good role model for Afghan women is the fact that Brazil was not always a place of equality between men and women. Many decades ago when your skills were mainly judged by the strength of your body, women were considered inferior to men and at many occasions not allowed to speak. Brazilian women came a long way to break free and prove they deserve to be treated equally to every other men in this planet. Education and skills development was a big factor in allowing Brazilian women to gain their independency and freedom. Once they learned a skill that could be used for generating income, they became financially independent. Financial independency gave them the ability to make their own choices and walk their own paths. This is pretty much what the Afghan Development Project and Women Annex are trying to build in Afghanistan. They have started in the right place and the more Afghan women join their movement, the quicker the country will surface from an era of cruelty against women that should have never existed.
Brazilian women have proved the world they are competent and eager to compete on every level with men. They are an example to be followed by women in Afghanistan and around the world. Not too long ago Brazilian women were considered nothing more that a symbol of beauty, today they have proved the world that there is much more than what you see on the surface.