Panjshir & Parwan Youth Conference

The Panjshir and Parwan Youth Conference entitled “Think Big” was successfully organized by the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization(AELSO) in cooperation with the Panjshir Studies Center, the White Assembly and other leading national and international organizations on Human rights, Democracy, Freedom, and Prosperity in Panjshir province.

In this conference, a huge number of youths, university lecturers and students, civil and human rights activists, and social and cultural activists come together and discussed about the main topic of the program, needs and challenges of the human rights values, democracy, freedom, and ways to stand and fight against increasing trends of extremism among university students across the country.

Mr. Sayed Mustafa Saiedy while addressing the participants…

At the beginning of the program, Sayed Mustafa Saiedy, head of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization’s board (AELSO) and Vice Chancellor of RANA University, spoke about activities and achievements of AELSO, its vision for a prosperous Afghanistan and organization’s main objectives for organizing the conference.

Saiedy emphasized on the role of youths in promoting and institutionalizing the values of human rights, democracy, freedom, and fight against extremism. He acknowledged that in recent years it has been youth who have been participating effectively in various global activities such as sports, art, and academic competitions and raising the tricolor flag of Afghanistan in different corner of the globe which is really something to be proud of.

In his view, the peace process in Afghanistan needs to move away from the classical practices and in line with the current structures, provide active youth participation in this crucial process and give them the opportunity to strive for making a society based on human right values, democracy, freedom, and prosperity in the absence of violence and extremism in Afghanistan.

Mr. Kabir Wasiq, Deputy governor of Panjshir province…

Following him, Mr. Kabir Wasiq, Deputy Governor of Panjshir Province spoke about the role of local government in ensuring human rights and prosperity in Afghanistan and added: “One of the main concerns of local government is to ensure democracy and involve the people in decisive and effective decisions which ensures the transparency, accountability, effectiveness, productivity, and will build trust among the people and service providers.”

He added that as the highest local government official in Panjshir province, in recent years we have spared no efforts to promote and institutionalize human rights values and achieve social prosperity. We have provided valuable services in this regard, our efforts have been concentrated for ensuring a fair distribution of the resources for all people to promote the human rights values among the people and pave the way for social prosperity throughout the country.

Mrs. Adiba Ahmadi

Following Mr. Wasiq, Mrs. Adiba Ahmadi, Legal Director of the Department of Women’s Affairs of Panjshir province, spoke about the role of women in ensuring family prosperity and promoting human rights value.

She added:

“As Afghan women forming half of the society, we have important responsibilities and duties in the process of development and growth of society and play a key role in this regard. Lack of activity and low level of women’s participation in national and social issues is one of the biggest problems and shortcomings that have led to the crisis in Afghanistan.”

In her view, despite the fact that women have serious responsibilities as mothers in the family, Afghan women have been deprived of their most basic rights due to the prevailing patriarchal culture and tribal customs in Afghanistan and have not been able to play their essential role even in the family as the initial unit of the society, they are at the lowest levels of awareness and have always been denied access to education, which has been a major reason why women do not function properly to ensure family prosperity and promote human rights values in Afghanistan.

She said that the way to release Afghan women from the current unfavorable situation in the society is to provide academic and educational fields for women and added that women, like men, should enjoy educational opportunities in order to raise their level of academic awareness and move alongside men in the path of growth and prosperity of the society and institutionalization of human values in the country.

Mr. Ghulam Rasool Khebrat

In continuation of the conference, Mr. Ghulam Rasool Khebrat, Head of the Panjshir Institute of Higher Education, spoke about the role of intellectuals and academic institutions in promoting the values ​​of human rights and tolerance in Afghanistan and added:

“Tolerance is one of the important characteristics of intellectuals and an intellectual is someone who fights for human rights, tolerance, democracy, and prosperity in the society, in his view, academic institutions are the cradles of education and bright beacons that lead the society to knowledge and enlightenment, the role of these academic centers is vital in transforming the society and rescuing the it from the trap of ignorance. Fighting academic poverty is the central responsibility of these institutions.”

He continued by saying that academic institutions are obliged to provide educational and academic opportunities in an atmosphere free of ethnic and linguistic differences to all people especially the youth, and as centers of education struggle to provide the grounds for achieving a society based on tolerance and human rights values by spreading knowledge and awareness among all the people.

Mr. Fazlur Rehman Mulla Zadeh

Following him, Mr. Fazlur Rehman Mulla Zadeh, an Islamic scholar and Deputy Chairman of the Panjshir Ulema Council spoke about the role of Islamic scholars and religious institutions in promoting the ideas of peace and tolerance and added:

“Since Afghanistan is an Islamic country and the entire population of this country is made up of Muslims; clerics and religious scholars have a prestigious position in the society and have a close and influential relationship with the people, in his view, the responsibility of the Islamic scholars is not limited to performing religious affairs perhaps they are responsible to make people aware of their human and religious rights through dialogue and preach to fight against extremism in the society.”

According to him, human rights, tolerance, prosperity, and fight against extremism are the central goals and characteristics of Islam, and all Muslims have a responsibility to struggle and fight for promoting these values ​​in the society. If Muslims failed to ensure the human rights values and prosperity in the society, violence and extremism would spread to Islam and damage the body of this holly religion, therefore, it is the social responsibility of every Muslim to strive for promoting peace, equality, human rights, tolerance, and prosperity in the society, and provide the grounds for creating a dynamic society free of violence and extremism in the country.

Mr. Jaihon Raispoor

Afterwards, Mr. Jaihon Raispoor, Head of the Panjshir Studies Center, spoke about the role of Panjshir Studies Center on the values of peace and mutual acceptance, initially he introduced the cultural and academic activities and programs of this center and reminded of their important achievements in promoting education and awareness among the people, especially the youth. According to him, not only the Panjshir Studies Center but the entire academic and research centers have a mission to promote and ensure peace and tolerance among the society and pave the way for a prosperous society in the country.

He said that the Panjshir Studies Center has always strived to use every academic opportunity for bringing together Afghan youth and has spared no efforts to achieve the long-standing ideas of freedom and prosperity in Afghanistan, in order to ensure peace and tolerance in the country. This center is committed to strive for raising the level of awareness among the people, especially the youth, and to promote the values of peace and tolerance among the Afghan society.

Panel of the conference…

In the second part of the program, an expert panel was moderated by Abdul Hai Movahed, AELSO’s research Associate. Mr. Najibullah Sulaimankhil, economic analyst and AELSO’s Program Manager, Mr. Hanif Farzan, senior member of the White Assembly, Mr. Hakim Hakimy, representative of the Panjshir Studies Center, Mr. Shaheen Bahaduri, University lecturer were the panel members who shared their views and answered participant’s questions.

This expert panel was held to deeply discuss the components of human rights, tolerance, prosperity and fight against extremism; Challenges, opportunities, current and future situation and existing solutions of these concepts in Afghan society.

Speakers in this part of the program spoke about the culture of peace and tolerance, human rights values and fight against extremism in Afghanistan. They shared their views on the challenges toward educating and promoting these concepts in the community and acknowledged that the low level of awareness and knowledge among the people is one of the main reasons for the growth and emergence of extremism in Afghan society which has led to violence and crisis in the country.

They analyzed the damages caused by extremism in society. By explaining economic, political, and legal dimensions and considered the rapid growth of this phenomenon dangerous for the future of Afghanistan. In the view of these experts, promoting the values of peace, human rights, democracy, tolerance, and Prosperity among the people is the only way to fight against violence and extremism, and we will not achieve a dynamic and prosperous society until all people understand these concepts.

From the point view of the members of this panel, extremism can be considered as a psychological warfare in another dimension, it is the existence of psychological warfare that leads to physical warfare among human beings and pave the way for increasing violence and aggression in human societies. According to them deprivation in many parts of the country has created grounds for increasing extremism, and this attitude starts from not accepting the views and opinions of others and stepping into the bloody borders of murder and killing in the lack of awareness of human rights values and tolerance among the people.

The third part of the conference was a group work. In this part, the participants were divided into four groups to discuss the causes of extremism, its implications, ways to combat it and how to promote the values of human rights, tolerance, and prosperity in Afghanistan. Then the representatives of each groups shared the result of their discussion to all participants which will be included in the booklet.

One of the participants of the conference sharing results of group work…

Ms. Sabra Noori, one of the program participants, said: “Afghan women have a mission to work along by men for realization of peace and development in the country and society. In her view, the existence of extremist tendencies has limited women and unfortunately prevented them from academic and educational activities. Increasing the level of awareness and knowledge among the Afghan women and introducing human right values in the society is one of the most effective strategies toward prosperity which requires public support and efforts.

One of the participants sharing the result of group work…

Mr. Khalil Sabr, another participant of the conference, spoke out and added: “Criticism must be done responsibly, human beings are initially obliged to critique and examine their innate actions and behaviors, in order to build a non-violent and tolerated society we need to reform ourselves behavior as the first steps towards such a valuable goal.”

Mr. Muhammad Khalid Ramizy while addressing the conference participants…

The general conclusion of the Panjshir & Parwan Youth Conference was made by Mr. Muhammad Khalid Ramizy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO). He gave a brief overview of this conference and provided the necessary explanations to the participants regarding the main objectives of the program, and reminded the next programs to the participants and encouraged them to participate in these academic and educational programs to show their talent and improve the level of their knowledge and awareness.

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.

This conference successfully ended with the awarding of some certificates of appreciation to the senior members of the Panjshir Studies Center for their meritorious services in organizing the conference, awarding of certificates to a group of participants, and taking of a group photo.

Mr. Raispoor while receiving the appreciation certificate…

The Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO) is determined to organize such conferences in different provinces of Afghanistan along with the direct cooperation of academic institutions in order to promote the ideas of Peace, Prosperity & Liberty, and the fight against extremism 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.