Newsha Tavakolian for TIME
April 15, 2015 6:56 PM EDT

Afghanistan has not been this abuzz about its First Lady since Queen Soraya appeared unveiled in public in the 1920s. It is already clear that unlike her predecessor Zeenat Karzai, Lebanese-born Rula Ghani will not be happy standing anonymously behind her husband Ashraf Ghani. She will be heard. She will be seen. And she will be hands-on.

Ghani, who has a long history of activism, has already vowed to work to improve living standards for women in a country where they have historically struggled to be treated fairly. She will have her work cut out for her, as a non-Afghan and as a Christian woman in a Muslim nation. But she is highly educated, articulate and quite evidently passionate. Can Rula Ghani help usher in the beginning of a new era for Afghan women? Like many fellow Afghans, I can’t wait to find out.

Hosseini is the author of And the Mountains Echoed

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