Higher Education and peace in Afghanistan

Posted by pt91 at Dec 19, 2011 03:59 PM |
The importance of universities in nation building was the topic of discussion at a recent workshop hosted by the University of Leicester.
Higher Education and peace in Afghanistan

Representatives from Kabul University with Professors Tallack and Petterson (right of centre).

The development and expanded provision of university level education in Afghanistan is seen as a key aspect in bringing peace and stability to the region and is why the University organised this major international workshop, which attracted delegates from the Middle East, Europe and America.

The largest group of delegates, from Kabul University in Afghanistan, were led by the Chancellor of Kabul University, His Excellency Professor Hamidullah Amin. The workshop was funded by the British Council and the UK Department for International Development.

A range of themes were discussed during the workshop, including the purpose of a university, services, links to the national community, the role of government and industry, and how Afghan universities can contribute to peace and nation building. 

Afghanistan has the highest ratios of applicants per university place in the world. The country desperately needs to build capacity of higher education in order to train the 15 million young people desperate for knowledge, skills, and employment.

The workshop facilitator, Professor Mike Petterson of the University of Leicester, commented that Afghanistan’s 30 year was has resulted in the loss of a whole generation of people, skills, and experience – and universities are a key engine of national development for the future.

Academics from Kabul University, including Professor Lutfullah Safi the head of Environment & Disaster Management, and Gulghutai Waizi from the British Council in Kabul, met with the Vice Chancellor of Leicester Sir Robert Burgess, and the Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Douglas Tallack.

Focus was given to Earth and environmental science and the part that these studies could play in Afghan nation building. Discussions benefited from the mix of international delegates of different backgrounds. From Leicester this included Professor Mike Lovell, Head of Department for Geology, and undergraduate students Sarah Hey and Laura Wilson. Joel Gill from Kings College London presented the ‘Geology for Global Development’ initiative, which aims to provide UK Earth science students with opportunities to work in the Developing and Emerging World. Current students Stephen Collett, from Charles University in Prague, and Ghazanfar Khattak presented their work as examples of current geological research in the Afghan-Pakistan region. The conference also benefited from the interdisciplinary inclusion of culture and customs expertise of Hafizullah Emadi. 

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