Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is set to host the “Afghanistan Regional Symposium: Confronting the Impasse” on November 11, creating a dynamic forum that will bring together scholars and practitioners from around the world to engage in meaningful dialogue. Open to the public, this event is part of the university’s Hiwaraat Conference Series and aims to shed light on the complex challenges confronting Afghanistan and its adjacent regions, while fostering fresh perspectives and sustainable solutions.
The return of the Taliban to power in 2021 marked the beginning of a complex and tense relationship between Afghanistan and the international community. This impasse sets the stage for the discussions, where academics and experts with on-the-ground experience will explore challenges in areas such as media resilience, education, climate change, and natural resource governance. The event is convened by the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at GU-Q.
“The symposium is a valuable opportunity to unite decision-makers, stakeholders, and the wider public to share knowledge and contribute insights,” said Zahra Babar, Associate Director for Research at CIRS. “We hope the diverse range of perspectives will not only aid in understanding the current challenges but also offer new pathways for Afghanistan’s future beyond the existing impasse.”
A session titled “Afghanistan Imagined by Afghans” will feature Dr. Dawood Azami, an award-winning senior journalist and academic, who previously served as the BBC World Service Bureau Chief and Editor in Kabul. Joining him is Dr. Parwan Fayyaz, a scholar and poet from Afghanistan, who is currently serving as a research fellow at the University of Cambridge.
Emmy-nominated international journalist Ali M. Latifi, Asia Editor for the New Humanitarian and a Kabul-based correspondent for Al Jazeera English, will share his expertise at a session titled “Reporting from Conflict Zones: Media Resilience in Afghanistan.”
H.E. Androulla Kaminara, former European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Distinguished Diplomat-in-Residence at GU-Q, will contribute her expertise during a panel discussion titled “Climate Change and Natural Resource Governance.” Dr. Mohammad Assam Mayar, whose scientific research includes strategy analyses for tackling climate change and drought risk mitigation in Afghanistan, will also join the session.
The conference will feature a documentary screening of “Symphony of Courage,” shining a light on poignant human stories. The showing will be followed by a thought-provoking discussion with Beth Mendelson, the film’s director and executive producer for Afghanistan Service at Voice of America, alongside Rana Kazkaz, an award-winning filmmaker and Associate Professor of Communication in Residence at Northwestern Qatar.
Live Arabic translation will be available for the panels. For the full program and registration, please visit the conference website at https://cirs.qatar.georgetown.edu/afghanistan/.