Friday, February 19, 2010

My Head Is Swimming!

So much to take in with tonight's panel on Afghanistan.

Tuft's EPIIC Symposium Program - "South Asia -Conflict, Culture, Complexity and Change"

Tonight - "Buzkashi: Afghanistan’s Recurring Great Game"

Sarah Chayes Former Special Advisor to General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan; Founder, Arghand Cooperative, Afghanistan

I found Ms. Chayes presentation to be utterly fascinating. Her insights from her many years in Afghanistan really gave me pause. Many people today and in other venues have hammered away on Afghanistan's utterly crushing poverty. Ms. Chayes pointed out that while there is no oil in Afghanistan...there is a wealth of other natural treasures. Natural resources include coal, iron ore, copper ore, and gemstones as well as natural gas fields. And the geographic location is a uniquely suited to a powerful nation....the gateway between India, Iran and China. Ms. Chayes was the first and most lengthy speaker and she also answered the most questions in the Q&A session.

Matthew Hoh Former Senior Civilian Representative, US Department of State, Zabul Province, Afghanistan


Said Jawad Afghanistan Ambassador to the United States of America

A very interesting speaker on a complex topic. I will have more to say on him. I was most closely aligned with his viewpoint - there's plenty of blame to go need to heap it all in one place (us) and lets not give up.

Sulaiman Layeq Founding Member, People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan

This guy wasn't there.

David Mansfield Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Independent Consultant, for a range of organizations, including the UK Government and the World Bank, on illicit drugs in Afghanistan

Hilarious!!!!! Loved him.

Dipali Mukhopadhyay Author, “Warlords as Bureaucrats: The Afghan Experience”; Jennings Randolph Dissertation Scholar, U.S. Institute of Peace

Interesting presentation on warlords. I would liked to have seen much more of it.

Noor ul-Haq Olomi Chair, Armed Services Committee, Lower House of the Afghan National Assembly; Leader, United National Party of Afghanistan


Michael Semple, Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Harvard Kennedy School; former Deputy to the European Union Special Representative for Afghanistan

Concur with his remarks that we should fight "defeatist attitudes" and that we need to remember why we (the international community) are there.
As always with these panels, I would have been happy to listen to much more of what everyone had to say. Four hours flew by in the blink of an eye.

There was also a photo essay on Afghanistan focusing on heroin addiction and the impact on Afghanis by Nichole Sobecki. The title was "Afghanistan's Tipping Point". When you click on the link, go to the index for this particular group of 15 pictures. I liked it, but would have appreciated more narration.

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