Nangarhar Youth Conference | Think Big!

The Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO), in cooperation with the White Social Organization (the White Assembly) and other leading national and international organizations successfully organized the Nangarhar Youth Conference (Think Big) focusing on human rights, freedom, democracy, peace, mutual acceptance and fight against radicalism with the participation of more than 200 youths and students on May 27, 2021 in Nangarhar province.

In this one-day conference, religious scholars, university professors, civil and human rights activists, Young people and students came together and learned about the values of democracy, freedom, human rights, prosperity, mutual acceptance and the fight against extremism. The participants also shared their plans through group work they had in the second half of the conference for institutionalizing the values of human rights, democracy, peace, and freedom in the country.

The speakers of this conference called the institutionalization of mutual acceptance, values of human rights, democracy and freedom the basis of peace and prosperity in the country and emphasized the need to promote these values in Afghanistan. On the other hand, the conference participants expressed their support for peace, freedom and mutual acceptance, calling these components a civil and social deterrent against extremism and intimidation.

Najibullah Sulaimankhil presenting his opening remarks…

The conference was inaugurated by Najibullah SulaimanKhil, a senior member of the Afghanistan Economic and legal studies organization, he provided information about the activities and achievements of the organization and explained to the participants the objectives of the Youth Conference for Peace and mutual acceptance, and its role in combating radicalism.

He said that the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization and the White Social Assembly have been working for nearly two decades to promote the values of a free society in accordance with the teachings of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan, which has gone through many ups and downs as so far it is operating voluntarily in 28 provinces and cities of Afghanistan.

Mr. SulaimanKhil said that justice among values, promotion of human values ​​in compatibility with the values ​​of Islam, and fight against radicalism are the main goals of the Nangarhar Youth Conference and added: ” The main goal and vision of the Nangarhar Youth Conference is to educate the participants about human rights, democracy, freedom, mutual acceptance, free society values, fight against radicalism and how to institutionalize these values in Afghanistan. The result of all these discussions will be published in a research based booklet which will serve as a policy guide for good governance, institutionalizing human values and fighting against extremism in the country. “

Following him, university professors and officials of civil and social institutions of Nangarhar province, each Mohammad Younis Khadem, Vahid Zahir, Abdul Basir Atal, Iftikhar Ahmad Hamdard, Ezatullah Monsef and other prominent academic personalities expressed their speeches and views on the subject of the program, ways to promote human rights values, generalization of peace and mutual acceptance, the role of students and academic centers on promoting human rights standards and combating radicalism in Afghanistan, which conveyed different instructive and informative messages to the participants.

Mr.Younis Khadem

Mohammad Younis Khadem, teacher of Nangarhar University, welcomed and thanked the initiative of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization and White Social Assembly for holding the Nangarhar Youth Conference and said: “Creation of such conferences is one of the effective ways to focus on the role of youth and students in promoting and securing the values ​​of democracy, free society, human rights, and freedom in the light of Islamic teachings in Afghan society and considered the dissemination of these concepts and values ​​in the society as the main responsibilities of the youths and students. “

In his view, due to the inadequacies and problems in Afghanistan, the masses have no access to the knowledge and education, and it is the youth and students who, with their constructive plans and programs will steer the ship of knowledge and education to its destination in the society, he believed that there is no place for radicalism in a society which reached to knowledge and this is the awakening of nations that has made societies dynamic and isolated phenomena’s such as radicalism.

In continuation of the conference, Vahid Zahir, a lecturer at the university, spoke and added: “Radicalism is a sinister and reprehensible phenomena that destroys the conditions of peace and mutual acceptance in human societies and cause to more conflicts and violence; he added that the way to overcome on this bloody phenomena is to promote and spread the values ​​of human rights, free society, peace, mutual acceptance, and freedom in the light of Islamic teachings and introducing these concepts in Afghan society. According to him the people of Afghanistan need to continuous social and political education and this is unattainable in the absence of cooperation and efforts of young people, students, elites, and academic figures.”

In the second part of the program; an expert panel was moderated by Waheedullah Rashid, AELSO’s provincial member. The panel members were Abdulbasir Sabawoon, Shirshah Hamdard, Hijratuulah Ekhteyar, university lecturers, social and civil rights activists which talked about the components of human rights, fight against radicalism, mutual acceptance, prosperity, the current challenges, opportunities and threats toward promoting democratic and free society values in the country followed the questions raised by the participants and answers given by the panel members.

Speakers at the program spoke about the challenges of educating and promoting a culture of peace and tolerance, human rights values, and the fight against radicalism in Afghanistan, and shared their views with participants. They acknowledged that in recent decades the phenomena of radicalism has penetrated into Afghan society and has led to an increase in violence and crisis.

They added that one of the effective ways to get rid of radicalism in Afghanistan is to hold such conferences and seminars in order to educate and raise the public awareness; especially youth and students and introducing the values of a free society, peace, mutual acceptance, freedom, and human rights among the people.

From the view of this panel members, regardless of the public opinion, peace and tranquility in Afghanistan is intangible and unattainable, Peace is not just a ceasefire and an end to the conflict in Afghanistan; Rather, peace will be achieved one day when a culture of mutual acceptance is established among the people and Afghans can live in a united and pluralistic society in the absence of fear and contribute to the prosperity and development of their country in the shadow of unity and peace.

Participants during group work…

The third part of the conference was group work. In this part, the participants were divided into four groups to discuss the causes of radicalism, its consequences, and strategies for effectively tackling it in Afghanistan. At the end of the group work, one member from every group has been given sufficient time to present the result of the group work. The results of these group work and ideas shared in all these conferences and symposiums will be published in a research booklet.

In this program, more than 200 youths of Nangarhar province collectively called the spread of extremism worrying and considered this phenomenon as one of the main reasons for the continuation of war and violence in the country. According to these youths, the intelligence circles of number of neighboring countries, with the cooperation of some extremist religious institutions in the region, are leading the Afghan youth toward extremism and violence.

These young people say that the Nangarhar Youth Conference provides a unique opportunity for young people to fight against radicalism through promoting the values of peace, mutual acceptance and human rights in society.

Hqiqat Omarzai, one of the participants in this gathering, said: “In recent decades, extremism in Afghanistan has increased immensely and has caused to great social suffering and damages to the people of Afghanistan, especially the youth. In his view, radicalism in many cases hinders prosperity, Development, mutual acceptance and peace in society which even deprived the people of Afghanistan, especially the female from the right of education.”

Mohammad Iqbal Kochi, another participant in the conference, added: “The existence of radical tendencies in Afghanistan has affected all social and political dimensions and threatened human values, human rights, peace and mutual acceptance in the society. He considered the conditions and the high level of radicalism as a danger for the future of Afghanistan and the way out of the current situation is to hold such academic sessions, educate and introduce the concepts and the values of a free society, human rights, democracy, and freedom in Afghan society. He called the effort for moderation among the people, especially the youth, is one of the basic duties of the social and academic elites and personalities.”

Mr. Abdul Hai Movahed

The general conclusion of the Nangarhar Youth Conference was made by Abdul Hai Movahed, Head of the Research Department of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies organization, who presented the following options for the youth in the summary section. He reminded the participants that the National Youth Conference 2021, will be organize in one of the major cities of the country, which will give priority to the participants of the Nangarhar Youth Conference at the National Youth Conference.

Also in this conference, the book “Islamic Foundations of a Free Society”, “Peace, Love, & Liberty” and other valuable books written in the field of Market economy, Democracy and Liberty, have been introduced to the participants as the main references for better understanding of the compatibility of free society values with the teachings of the holy religion of Islam.

The Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO) is determined to organize such conferences in different provinces of Afghanistan in order to promote the ideas of Peace, Prosperity & Liberty, and the fight against radicalism in the country.

Those interested in promoting peace, human rights, liberty, Prosperity, and fight against radicalism, can join the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO) and proudly contribute to creating a democratic & peaceful Afghanistan through our different initiative such as Liberty Club & AELSO Academy.