Events 2008

Waste Management and Environmental Protection
Dr. Rahmani and Dr. Alim Attarud,
Tuesday, June 8, 2010. 

AIAS, jointly with U.S Embassy Public Affairs Section, Fulbright Alumni and the Azizi Foundation, organized a presentation on the waste management issues in Kabul. Dr. Rahmani and Dr. Attarud, former Fulbrighters who are currently working in the Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Health prepared the presentation. The U.S Ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, Heads of Afghan Environmental Protection Agency, a deputy of Kabul Municipality, Dean of the University of Medical Studies, several other high ranking officials, YES alumni, and students from Kabul University attended the presentation. After the presentation there was a roundtable discussion focused on possible solutions to waste management problems in the city of Kabul.  At the end, the participants joined other volunteers for a street cleaning activity.


"Vision in Color" A Photo Exhibition
Muhammad Musa Akbari
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 4:00 PM

Mr. Musa Akbari has a B.A degree from the School of Fine Arts, Tehran University is well known Afghan photographer. He organized several photo exhibitions in Afghanistan and abroad, including this new one in Kabul co-sponsored by AIAS. The “Vision in Colour” exhibition was a great success. The exhibition was inaugurated after a presentation by Dr. Mousavi of the Ministry of Education, on the state of art and culture in Afghanistan. Over 200 visitors attended the exhibition in the first day and the program had a wide coverage in the media.

RSVP by e-mail to AIAS.KBL@gmail.com

 

 

 


Afghanistan Municipal Governance at the Crossroads
Dr. Vijaya Samaraweera, Deloitte Consulting
Tuesday, February 20, 2010 3:00 PM

The importance of the provincial municipalities in governance and in the economy of Afghanistan has been noted in a number of official documents and in policy and research studies. Yet, no detailed study of the workings of the provincial municipalities emerged until recently. Equally, while the economic potential of the provincial municipalities has been repeatedly observed, the relationship between their governance and economic growth has been little understood. More recently, the focus on the provincial municipalities both in terms of sub national governance and economic development -- and indeed, in the context of security as well given that many of them are highly concentrated population centers -- has intensified. The consequence of this close attention is to essentially place the provincial municipalities at the crossroads in terms of governance. Drawing upon his Municipal Governance in Afghanistan: A Manual, Kabul: USAID-ICMA, 2009, 2 volumes, and more recent literature, Dr. Samaraweera will examine the challenges provincial municipalities face and the obstacles they have to overcome if they are to realize their true potential and contribute to good governance in Afghanistan.

Dr. Vijaya Samaraweera received his undergraduate education at the University of Sri Lanka, Peradeniya, majoring in History and Politics, and wrote his doctoral dissertation in modern history at Oxford University for which he was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Subsequently, he received his Juris Doctor degree from the New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. After a career in the academe both in Sri Lanka and the US and practicing as a lawyer in Boston, Dr. Samaraweera turned to international development work, specializing in human rights, democracy and governance. He has undertaken long-term assignments on behalf of several United Nations agencies, international NGOs, and more recently, for USAID, in Cambodia, East Timor, Timor Leste, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. Among his recent publications in the development field are Republic of Iraq: District Government Field Manual (editor and lead writer) Baghdad: USAID-RTI, 2007, 2 volumes, and Municipal Governance in Afghanistan: A Manual, Kabul: USAID-ICMA, 2009, 2 volumes.



 

 

 


Afghanistan's Post-Taliban Constitution: "Most Enlightened" but Inappropriate?
Dr. M. Nazif Shahrani
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 5:00 PM

As a multiethnic post-colonial buffer nation-state, Afghanistan was ruled over by autocratic centralizing monarchic regimes for nearly a century following its creation in late 19th century. Extant ethnic and tribal differences gradually transformed into articulated forms of social fragmentation due to discriminatory nationalizing policies of the failing state leading to Khlaq-Parcham Communist revolution, Soviet occupation, Jihadi resistance, and proxy wars culminating to the rise of Taliban and Talibanism in mid-1990. After defeat of the Taliban regime, the most crucial challenge facing Afghan leadership and their international patrons was stabilizing a seriously divided Afghan society following three decades of conflict and violence, much of it within the country. One of the most promising means for responding to this important challenge was the opportunity for designing/formulating an appropriate constitutional framework for post-Taliban Afghanistan as it was mandated by the Bonn Accords of December 2001. Upon ratification by acclamation (not a vote of the Constitutional Assembly of 502 delegates) Afghanistan’s new Constitution was promulgated by Hamid Karzai on December 5, 2004, and it was immediately lauded by its framers and international sponsors as “the most enlightened in the Islamic world”, a “milestone along the political process”, and deemed an essential part of establishing Afghanistan’s political future as a stable democracy in this troubled part of the world. Much to the disappointment of the peoples of Afghanistan and growing concern of the international community who closely supervised and supported the Constitution-making processes, five years later the post-Taliban Constitution has produced a kleptocracy fueling a powerful resurgence of the Taliban. This presentation, while taking note of what may be “enlightened” about this Constitution, will question the appropriateness of the charter in light of Afghanistan ’s troubled history and political culture. The role of Afghanistan ’s various post-Taliban ruling elites and those of their national and international supporters in crafting this inappropriate Constitution--filled with “integrationist” and “accommodationist” tensions--to address the conflicting needs of seriously divided national and international constituencies will be also discussed.

Dr. Shahrani was born, raised and partly educated in Afghanistan after which he went on to receive his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Washington. Currently, he is Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University where he has also served as Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program. He frequently visits Afghanistan.


Beyond the Election: Building Government Legitimacy in Afghanistan
Shahmahmood Miakhel, USIP (Afghanistan)
J. Alexander Thier, USIP (Washington), Director of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Moderated by John Dempsey, USIP Afghanistan
Thursday, November 12, 2009 6:00 PM

AIAS in coopration with the U.S. Institute of Peace is pleased to host a discussion on the outcomes of the recent elections in Afghanistan and how government legitimacy can be constructed in Afghanistan. Space for this event is limited and an RSVP will be required.


Sufi Music: A Qawali Music Event
A performance by Ahmad Sham
Thursday, October 1, 2009 7:30 PM

Sufi music has been practiced in several parts of Afghanistan mostly by Persian speaker Sufi circles to reinforce their connectivity to the original source of love and perfection, Almighty God. This music is very popular in India but it is practiced in all religious traditions all around the glob. In Afghanistan, this music is always accompanied by Persian Sufi poetry mostly from Jalaludin Rumi, Hafez, Sadi, Khayam, Sanayee and Jami. Even in India when the Qawal (Sufi singer) gets high in music or wants to amaze his/her audience they use some Persian verses of poems in the middle of Hindi, Punjabi and other local language songs. Most of who has been in such events has described Sufi music as very strong, penetrating and moving, especially when certain holy term like ALLAHO for instance gets repeatedly sung. Some times this music turns to a unique experience of life for some individuals from any religion and culture. This music crosses the geographical borders and renders the grasp meaning of unity. It is because it gives such an indescribable peacefulness and serenity that hopefully no one would be deprived from.

Ahmad Sham who is a medical doctor by training is born in Kabul on 1960. He has established a group of Sufi musicians (Qawali) since 1994 despite the fact that he used to sing Ghazal him self since 1979. He has performed concerts in Germany, Moscow, Tajikistan, London and Scotland.


Reconciliation in Afghanistan
A lecture by Michael Semple
Featuring panelists Nader Nadery, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission; Thomas Ruttig, The Afghanistan Analysts Network; John Dempsey, United States Institute of Peace
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 5:00 PM

This event is sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, and Fulbright Alumni

About the book: The Afghan government and the international community have embraced the idea of reconciliation with insurgents as an important part of the overall strategy to secure and stabilize the country.  Alongside increased military operations and larger numbers of ANSF and international troops are calls to "talk with the Taliban" and bring "reconcilable elements" to the government's side.  Without a strong and committed focus on the political and civil dimensions of the counter-insurgency efforts, any military victories will not be sustainable.    But what exactly is meant by the term "reconciliation"?  How and by whom should reconciliation efforts be crafted?  Who are such efforts targeting?  And what are the necessary ingredients for successful reconciliation initiatives?  

In this timely and thorough volume, Michael Semple analyzes the rationale and effectiveness of post-2001 attempts at reconciliation in Afghanistan. He explains the poor performance of these attempts and argues that rethinking is necessary if reconciliation is to help revive prospects for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Semple’s findings reveal that the key parties to the insurgency are Afghan political actors driven by objectives related to their roles and status inside Afghanistan. Further, the majority of senior Taliban figures who have reconciled have done so through a process best described as political sponsorship, in which they have secured acceptance into the present system through political or tribal links. Although official reconciliation programs have failed and formal institutions are widely considered to be inaccessible, corrupt, and unreliable, reconciliation is indeed possible in Afghanistan, particularly through informal networks and traditional Afghan reconciliation practices. Semple contends that progress lies in an incremental peace, one in which identifiable networks hitherto estranged from the current political reality and engaged in insurgent violence reach an accommodation with the government that addresses their network-specific grievances and interests. He concludes with specific and numerous recommendations for the Government of Afghanistan as well as for the international community.

About the author: Michael Semple began working in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s and is one of the most respected and experienced foreignanalysts on the country's politics today.  He most recently served in the country as the European Union's Deputy Special Representative to Afghanistan (2004-2007).  



 

 


Kabul: A City at Work
A lecture by David Gill and Dominic Medley
Thursday, July 23, 2009 5:30 PM

Kabul - a city at Work is a project that aims to reflect what is a much-misrepresented city by focusing on the people who inhabit it through a series of vignettes and accompanied with stunning photography. The book aims to dispel the myths and clichés held by the rest of the world, which regards Kabul as a city at war occupied by terrorists, criminals and alien cultures.

The people interviewed for the book tell the story of a modern day Kabul striving to find its feet. Some of the people appearing in the pages of this book are poor, some are rich, some are famous, and many of them are eccentric to say the least. From the British cemetery keeper in Sharpur to the estate agent in Wazir selling million dollar homes. From the new Kabul with its flamboyant wedding singers to the humble sweet maker in the old bazaar whose methods haven’t changed in 20 years.

David Gill is an all-round visual creator focused on social issues and overseas development. He has travelled to over forty countries working to a wide portfolio of commercial and development briefs. For the last decade he has worked as an independent photojournalist concentrating on deprived areas of the world and when possible exploring the positive aspects of their cultures. Since April 2008 he has been based in Afghanistan working on a variety of human-interest stories. Clients include Esquire, Mail On Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, GQ, The Observer, The National in Dubai as well as numerous niche culture magazines. David has been inspired by his experiences in developing nations. His current book project – Kabul ‘a city at work’ - documenting the life of the city’s working people should be completed by end 2010.

Dominic Medley first came to Kabul in February 2002 and he’s worked in the city ever, since mostly on media development and journalism training projects. In 2003 he published “Kabul: The Bradt Mini Guide” (now online at www.kabulguide.net <http://www.kabulguide.net/> ), which was the first travel guide to the city since Nancy Dupree’s 30 years earlier. Dominic also started Afghan Scene Magazine, the Afghanistan Foreign Press Association and the Afghanistan Society. Since June 2008 he’s been a press officer at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).


How and Why Does a Folklorist Study Afghan Politics: Connecting the Dots . . .
A lecture by Dr. Margaret Mills
Thursday, June 4, 2009 5:30 PM

If one approaches the problems of contemporary politics in Afghanistan from the point of view of folklore, some important elements of popular discourse and ideology come into focus: jokes, proverbs, rumors, personal experience narratives, and conspiracy theories express and evaluate people’s daily political experiences. The folklorist’s job is not to debunk or disprove them, but to understand how these types of discourse shape people’s choice of action in a difficult, nearly chaotic living situation.

Margaret Mills first set foot in Afghanistan in Herat in 1969, and on this experience decided to pursue doctoral study at Harvard University in general folklore and Afghan Persian cultural studies. She wrote her dissertation on traditional storytelling in Herat and a second book, Rhetorics and Politics in Afghan Traditional Storytelling (1991), on storytelling as political and social criticism, in the Daud Khan period. She has taught comparative folklore studies and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and presently at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She has done related research in Pakistan’s Northern Areas and mostly recently, in Tajikistan. She returns to Afghanistan as often as possible to pursue social and cultural research.


Steve McCurry: On His Photojournalistic Experiences and Work in the Last 30 Years
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 5:00 PM

Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today’s finest image-makers, has won many of photographys top awards. Best known for his evocative color photography, McCurry, in the finest documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle and joy. Member of Magnum Photos since 1986, McCurry has searched and found the unforgettable; many of his images have become modern icons. Born in Philadelphia, McCurry graduated cum laude from the College of Arts and Architecture ant the Pennsylvania State University. After working at a newspaper for two years, he left for India to freelance It was in India that McCurry learned to watch and wait on life If you wait, he realized, people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.

His career was launched when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-Controlled Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes of images that wold be published around the world as among the firs to show the conflict there. His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the national Press Photographers Association. That was the same year in which he won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo Contest. He has won the Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award twice.

Steve McCurry has covered many areas of international and civil conflict, including the Iran-Iraq war, the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War, and continuing coverage of Afghanistan. He focuses on the human consequences of war, not only showing what war impresses on the landscape, but rather, on the human face.

McCurry work has been featured in every major magazine in the world and frequently appears in National Geographic magazine with recent articles on the Hazaras of Afghanistan, Buddhism, Tibet, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. McCurry is driven by and innate curiosity and sense of wonder about the world and everyone in it. He has an uncanny ability to cross boundaries of language and culture to capture stories of human experience. Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking our, experience etched on a persons face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape that you could call the human condition.

A high point in his career was the rediscovery of the previously unidentified Afghan refugee girl that many have described as the most recognizable photograph in the world today. When McCurry finally located Sharbat Gula after almost two decades, he said Her skin is weathered; there area winkles now, but she is a striking as she was all those years age. McCurry returned from an extended assignment in China on September 10, 2001. His coverage at Ground Zero on September 11 is a testament to the heroism and nobility of the people of New York City. You felt the horror and immediately, instinctively understood that our lives would never be the same again.

McCurry has published many books including, In the Shadows of Mountains (2007), Looking East (2003), Sanctuary (2002), South Southeast (2000) Portraits (1999), Monsoon (1988), The Imperial Way(1985).



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Policy: Needs and Priorities in Afghanistan
A Panel Discussion by Amb. Lange Schermerhorn and Ms. Fara Abbas
Monday, April 13, 2009 5:00 PM

Amb. Schermerhorn will discuss the policy-making process from the perspective of a practitioner in the bureaucracy: what is “policy,” why do we need it; who are the actors in policy formulation; how do they coordinate with other actors; how do they communicate with the decision-makers and the stakeholders; what is the relation of policy to program management; what are the professional and ethical responsibilities of actors in the policy process. Ms. Abbas will describe mechanisms for policy formulation and methodologies for supporting policy offices that are connected to the Afghanistan National Development Policy (ANDS).

Ms. Schermerhorn’s 35-year career in the Foreign Service of the United States included staff, policy, and economic function positions in the Department of State in Washington and diplomatic assignments in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Iran, the United Kingdom, Belgium (twice-latterly as Deputy Chief of Mission), and lastly as Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti.

Since retiring in 2001, she has continued her interest in foreign policy and international development, with consulting assignments in Egypt, Somaliland, and Djibouti. She participated in election observation missions for Nigeria’s April 2003 and April 2007 Presidential elections, Somaliland’s September 2005 parliamentary election, and Kenya’s December 2007 Presidential election. She has had extensive experience speaking on foreign policy-related issues.

Ms. Fara Abbas is a Strategy and Policy Advisor for the Afghanistan Capacity Development Project (CDP), funded by USAID. In this role, Ms. Abbas is the project’s lead information support officer, providing policy analysis, policy briefs, and program evaluation to senior project management as well as officials at counterpart institutions.

Before joining CPD implementation team, she worked primarily in business and financial management positions, including managing support activities for the Academy of Educational Development’s Center for Gender Equity, as well as participating in several of its field implementation initiatives sub-Saharan Africa.


The Role of US Women in Politics from Eleanor Roosevelt to Hillary Clinton
A Presentation by Kathryn Hoffman
Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:15 PM

What roles do women find in societies that position them to gain political power and advocate for their views? What are the tradeoffs for women between informal and formal leadership roles? How do women leaders manage the distinction between role and individual?

Kathryn Hoffman graduated from Harvard University with a Masters degree in Public Policy, having worked closely with noted leadership expert Ronald Heifitz. She provided daily input to the foreign policy team at the Clinton White House, and her work on the transition between the Clinton and Bush administrations received substantial recognition within the US Government. She has served as a US diplomat in Haiti, Sudan, and Afghanistan, and managed US educational and cultural exchange programs with Palestinians in Jerusalem.


The Future of Afghanistan
A Presentation of the book by J. Alexander Thier
Saturday, February 21, 2009 4:30 PM

J Alexander Thier of the US Institute of Peace, together with other co-authors, will discuss their new book, The Future of Afghanistan (USIP, 2009), which former UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said "provides a compelling vision of how the overall approach in Afghanistan must evolve." The book argues that US policy toward Afghanistan will require a fundamental change in order to achieve long-term stability in that country. A focused, coherent, and long-term approach to Afghan and regional stability is necessary to get Afghanistan out of its vicious cycle of insecurity, insurgency, impunity, and corruption.

The Future of Afghanistan can be downloaded free of charge at
http://www.usip.org/peaceops/afghanistan/book.html

J Alexander Thier is Senior Rule of Law Advisor at the US Institute of Peace, where he is director of the Future of Afghanistan Project and co-chair of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Working Groups. Thier is also director of the project on Constitution Making, Peace-building, and National Reconciliation and is responsible for several rule of law programs in Afghanistan, including a project on establishing relations between Afghanistan's state and non-state justice systems, and was a member of the Afghanistan Study Group, co-chaired by General James Jones and Ambassador Tom Pickering. From 2002 to 2004, Thier was legal advisor to Afghanistan's Constitutional and Judicial Reform Commissions in Kabul, where he assisted in the development of a new constitution and judicial system. Thier also served as a UN and NGO official in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1993 to 1996, and has written extensively on the region, appearing regularly as a commentator in international media including BBC, CNN, and the New York Times.


Introduction of the Book Project Conception to Project Conclusion
A Lecture by Mr. Mumtaz A. Ahmadi
Wednesday, January 22, 2009 4:30 PM

The book includes reviewing international literatures about project management, particularly in under-developed countries. The author has carefully assimilated his thoughts and lessons learned from his many years of experience in developing/managing numerous projects. In his book he also emphasizes on the social, political and cultural settings of target communities before the project is initiated and those aspects are carefully included in stages of design and conception for the purpose of sustainability.

Mr. Mumtaz A. Ahmadi got his first degree from Nangarhar University on civil engineering and his EMBA from Preston University in Pakistan. On 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Montana where he got his Masters Degree in Environmental Science Program. Since his completion of bachelor degree, he has worked in key positions for a variety of international organizations that focus on sustainable rural development, poverty alleviation, relief and emergency, local governance and capacity building programs.

Mr. Ahmadi began his second career, first as an Environmental Impact Assessment consultant for USAID projects in northern Afghanistan, Deputy Country Representative for the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) Program and currently works as the USAID Mission Environmental Officer for Afghanistan.


The Effect of Community-Based Schools on Girls' and Boys' Educational Outcomes: Evidence from Remote Afghan Villages
A Lecture by Dr. Dana Burde
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 4:00 PM

This study uses a randomized trial to examine how community-based schools affect children's educational outcomes in rural Afghanistan. Taking advantage of an unusual opportunity to implement a rigorous research design in an early reconstruction context, Professors Dana Burde and Leigh Linden formed a partnership with the US-based nongovernmental organization CRS to implement random assignment of schools and program interventions to eligible villages (where no government schools existed). The researchers compared "treatment" villages to "control" villages after one year of intervention. Without the intervention, girls' enrollment rate in school is fifteen percent lower than boys' (27 percent rather than 42 percent) and their scores on math and language tests are also significantly lower. Based on analysis conducted thus far, the introduction of the community-based schools has had a significant impact on children's participation levels and significantly reduces the existing educational disparities between boys and girls. Thus, although locating schools within the village improved educational outcomes for all children, providing more equitable access to education had a much larger effect on girls' performance and reduced the existing disparity in educational achievement along gender lines.

Professor Burde will present the research design, methods, and the key quantitative findings in this study that relate to girls' and boys' enrollment and learning in math and Dari. She will discuss qualitative findings related to families' educational strategies for their children. She will also discuss policy implications. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Dr. Burde received her PhD from Columbia University in Comparative Education and Political Science. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor of International Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, specializing in education in countries affected by conflict; she has worked in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central and South America, West Africa, and started the current study in Afghanistan in 2005.


AIAS/U.S. Embassy Afghal Alumni Exchange
A joint AIAS/U.S. Embassy Kabul Program
Sunday, December 18, 2008

The American Institute of Afghanistan Studies (AIAS), in coordination with the U.S. Embassy Public Relations Office and independent Afghan Fulbright program alumni, hosted an Afghan Alumni Exchange at the AIAS center in Kabul this past December.  This event linked almost all of the Afghan alumni of the Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES), Seeds of Peace, Humphrey Fellowship Program, Fulbright Program, and other short-term international visitors programs.  Over 150 participated.

The main purpose behind the event was to establish a network between all Afghan alumni who live in different parts of Afghanistan and give them the chance to share their experiences with each other. It further aimed to provide an opportunity for the alumni to share their experiences in academic as well as cultural and social fields with the new candidates of Fulbright and Humphrey scholarships.  During the event, the head of the Public Relations Office, Mr. Rauland Scott, distributed Fulbright certificates.  

AIAS desires to further explore possibilities of networking Afghan alumni, especially Afghan Fulbright participants, with other regional and international Fulbright associations.  The U.S. Embassy will provide initial funding to set up a web site to help connect these Fulbright networks.


Fulbright Event


Fulbright Event
Election and Politics
A Lecture by Mary Nell Bryant
Saturday, October 11, 2008 4:30 PM

Mary Nell Bryant is a native of Miami, Florida. She received a B.A. and M.A. in U.S. History at University of Florida, and an M.A. in Information Science at the University of Chicago. She worked as a research specialist with the Congressional Research Service from 1978 to 1991, and then on the staff of the House Special Task Force on Eastern European Parliamentary Development. In that position, she managed Parliamentary library develop programs in Eastern Europe and the Baltic from 1991-1994. In 1994 she joined the Foreign Service as an Information Resources Officer and has served in Central America, Brazil, the Caribbean, and East Asia. In 2001-2002 she was Assistant Public Affairs Officer in Belgrade, Serbia. She was the State Department's Coordinator for the world wide American Corners program in 2005-2006. Her current assignment, begun in December, 2006 is Information Resource Officer for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia.

She has lectured on the topics of U.S. Government, legislative procedure and U.S. elections at universities in Indonesia, Thailand, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, and others.


U.S. Elections Event
On Migration with the Nomads of Qataghan
A Lecture by Dr. Thomas Barfield
Saturday, August 16, 2008 5:00 PM

Central Asian Arabs are a group of Persian speaking nomads who specialize in raising fat tailed and karakul sheep in northeastern Afghanistan. In 1976 Professor Barfield took part in their annual migration from their winter pastures on the banks of the Mau Daryl in Imam Sahib to their summer pastures in central Badakhshan. This presentation documents that migration that and presents a unique picture of their way of life, one in which about ten thousand families and shepherds move more than a million sheep over age old paths to their historic grazing grounds.

Thomas Barfield is Professor of Anthropology at Boston University and President of AIAS. He has conducted research on Afghanistan since the 1970s and is the author of The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan (1981), The Nomadic Alternative (1983), and (with Albert Szabo) Afghanistan: An Atlas of Indigenous Domestic Architecture (1991). Since 2001 his research has focused on political development in contemporary Afghanistan, particularly questions of customary law and its role in conflict resolution. Barfield received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 to complete his new book, Changing Concepts of Political Legitimacy in Afghanistan and their Consequences (forthcoming).


Afghanistan's Alternatives for Peace and Development
A Lecture by Dr. M. Nazif Shahrani
Thursday, July 17, 2008 5:00 PM

The US and international coalition policies of the last seven years of reconstruction and war on terror are proving to be ineffective in delivering peace, stability and democracy in Afghanistan. What were/are the fundamental assumptions behind these policies and why are they failing? What might be alternative approaches to these policies for rescuing Afghanistan from yet another impending disaster before it is too late?

Dr. Shahrani was born, raised and partly educated in Afghanistan after which he went on to receive his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Washington. Currently, he is Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University where he has also served as Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program. He frequently visits Afghanistan.


Nazif Shahrani Event
Reception for AIAS' New Director: Omar Sharifi
Sunday, June 8, 2008 4:30 PM

The American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, founded in 2003, is a center in Kabul for visiting American academics – teachers and students – who are engaged in Afghanistan studies. Its work is directed by faculty members from a group of about 25 American universities, all of which offer some courses on Afghanistan affairs. When in Kabul, members give lectures on their areas of research, in such areas as anthropology, political science, history, the arts, folk literature, and music. The Institute's long term objectives are to increase Afghanistan studies in American universities to pre-war levels and to bring American professionals into personal contact with their Afghan counterparts.

Dr. Omar Sharifi, the Institute's new Director, is a native of Kabul born in 1978. He graduated from Nadeira High School in 1995 and the Kabul Medical Institute in 2003. Following his medical studies, he worked as Head of Research and Publications for the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society in Kabul. From 2006-2008, he studied Cultural Anthropology at Columbia University in New York.

The Institute's outgoing director, Dr. Whitney Azoy, long time cultural anthropologist in the Afghanistan area, is currently at his retirement residence in Spain with his partner, Dr. Ana Tuset, Professor of Psychology at Barcelona University. They both promise to return to this country where they have many friends and interests.


Sharifi Reception

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