On October 22, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at a Town Hall meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan attended by civil society representatives, women, and youth. During the meeting, Secretary Clinton stressed the importance of civil society in addressing human rights issues and fundamental freedoms within the country. An excerpt follows:
“What is often unfortunate is that governments worry that NGOs have other agendas, that they are funded by outside interests, that they are truly trying to undermine or subvert the stability, the peace, the future of the country. And I think that that is a missed opportunity, so I would like to encourage the government here, as I do whenever I travel around the world, to have a dialogue with the NGO community. There are a lot of very experienced, accomplished people who care deeply about fixing education or healthcare or the environment or protected human rights, and they should have the opportunity to be heard.“
After the Town Hall, Secretary Clinton met privately with a group of Tajik NGO representatives. ICNL consultant and former director of the Tajikistan office Muatar Khaidarova was invited to attend this meeting.