Afghan students help pave the way to stability in their country

  • 09 Nov. 2009 - 13 Nov. 2009
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  • Last updated: 12 Nov. 2009 17:25

The fourth NATO-Afghan Student Forum is taking place in Berlin , Germany , from 9 to 13 November, alongside celebrations marking the fall of the Wall twenty years ago.

Some fifty students from Afghanistan , Pakistan , Central Asia and Europe are participating in the five-day programme sponsored by NATO Public Diplomacy Division and Hertie School of Governance.

Aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and exchanging personal experiences and views on global security issues, the forum focuses on NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and its implications for the every-day life of Afghan people.

We expect to learn from NATO, about its mission in Afghanistan ,” said Nasria, one of the forum’s participants. “We also expect to learn from each other – this forum is a real chance for us to meet students from Europe but also to meet our neighbours in Central Asia and Pakistan ,” she said, adding that they have the chance to present their country and the hopes and dreams they have for it.

Lida, another participant, said that women’s conditions have improved somewhat since 2001, noting the appointment of the first high-level female minister, Dr. Simar Samar, the re-opening of school to girls, the first female governor in Bamyan and the women’s boxing team.

But it is not enough,” she said. “There is still much violence against women – girls have to go to schools and should have access to key positions.

A Pakistani participant, Anum Bashir, said that most young people in Pakistan feel that their country's current instability is linked to the crisis Afghanistan.

The forum’s programme includes several days of lectures from academics, international and NATO experts, as well as presentations by the students