June 9, 2011
Tags: Afghanistan, Ghazni province, Nadia Tarzi, APAA
By Claudia Brose
In honor of the Afghan Delegation from Afghanistan’s Ghazni province visit to San Francisco, The Asia Foundation held a Luncheon and Panel Discussion on June 8th that aimed to offer the delegation insights into the efforts of Bay Area based non-profit organizations addressing issues in Afghanistan. APAA’s Executive Director Nadia Tarzi was one of four panelists presenting their work to improve Afghanistan’s educational, cultural and social environment. The Delegation of eleven included, among others, the governor and Mayor of Ghazni Province, members of Afghanistan’s Parliament and representatives of the Ministry of Information and Culture.
In 2007 Ghazni (with a population of 1.3 million) was acknowledged as the “Capital of Islamic Culture” for 2013. It is situated in eastern Afghanistan, along the strategic route that links Kabul and Khandar – a key province in Afghanistan’s past, present and future. As Ghazni Province plays today an important role in the economic, agricultural, and political realms of contemporary Afghanistan, efforts are in place on an international level to raise awareness of and improve relationships with this region.
APAA’s presentation demonstrated a different angle on “aid” work in Afghanistan. Helping to preserve the identity of an embattled nation through cultural preservation and archeological and historical education is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when pondering how best to support a society which is attempting to rebuild itself. Yet, it is a building stone in international development efforts, as dignity, pride and an awareness of one’s own past are important aspects of a life worth living. Together with Afghan Friends Network, Afghans4Tomorrow and Roots of Peace, organizations who work to improve the lives of women and children, empower educators, develop agricultural and health programs and de-mine the country, APAA plays an important role in reviving a culture and society that finds itself in a constant state of conflict.
One couldn’t help thinking that there was a room filled with wonderful people, Afghans and non-Afghans, dedicated and passionate, skilled and driven to help people who don’t have the means to help themselves. But then, there are those, who prefer the tools of corruption, greed and power – and they make it so difficult for the rest of us.