Youth Symposium for Peace & Tolerance | Nangarhar

The third round of the Youth Symposium for Peace and Tolerance, initiated by the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO) in collaboration with leading national and international organizations and think tanks, on the challenges of educating and promoting the values of democracy, human rights and the fight against extremism, has been successfully organized in Nangarhar province on March 04, 2021.

In this symposium, young people, university students & lecturers, civil and human rights activists, social and cultural activists came together and discussed about the factors and effective ways to tackle increasing trends of extremism and radicalism in Afghanistan, particularly among university students.

At the beginning of the program, Rustam Jalalzai briefed the participants about the activities and achievements of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO), main reasons behind organizing the youth symposium and its role in fighting extremism among university students.

Rustam Jalalzai, one of AELSO’s provincial fellow in Nangarhar province…

In the second part of the symposium, expert’s panel, with presence of Sayed Abbas Sadat & Jamil Popalzai, lecturers of Nangarhar University; Sonika Arian, peace activist; and Sayed Ayaz Maiwand, government’s representative for strengthening local governance; has been moderated. The panel was run by Wahidullah Rashid, AELSO’s provincial fellow in Nangarhar province.

Panel of the Symposium…

The speakers of the program talked about the challenges in front of educating and promoting the values of democracy, human rights and fighting against extremism in the country.

Sayed Abbas Sadat, lecturer at Nangarhar University and one of the speakers of the program while speaking about these challenges said:

“Insecurity, economic problems in society, inability to continue higher education, unfair educational environment in schools and universities, administrative weaknesses in academic environments, are the main factors and major challenges in promoting the values of democracy, human rights and pluralism. These challenges all together have paved the way for extremism to strengthen its roots among youths in the country.”

Sayed Abbas Sadat, lecturer at Nangarhar University…

Continuing the program, Sayed Ayaz Maiwand, government’s representative for strengthening local governance, while speaking about the role of local governance in promoting the values of democracy, human rights, pluralism and fighting extremism said:

“Listening to the voice of the people and strengthening the capacity of the local authorities, recruiting capable youths in the government offices, providing job opportunities for the youths, working on youth’s empowerment and equipping them with free society values, can play an important role in promoting and preserving the values of peace, prosperity as well as fighting against extremism among youths in the country. Paying less attention to these issues in the local governance may pave the way for extremism and will challenge the progress of free society values in the country.”

Sayed Ayaz Maiwand, government’s representative for strengthening local governance…

Then Jamil Popalzai, lecturer at Nangarhar University, while speaking on the subject, added:

“The lack of discourses for strengthening the compatibility of Islam with human right values is a major challenge in front of promoting these values and this has contributed to creating an extremist atmosphere against these values. There for, the approach followed by the AELSO which is promoting harmony between values can be highly effective in eliminating these challenges and combating extremism in the country.

Jamil Popalzai, lecturer at Nangarhar University…

Continuing the program, Sonika Aryan, peace activist while speaking about the human right values and fighting against extremism, said:

“Promoting human rights values ​​and creating an anti-extremism mentality in a war-torn society like Afghanistan is a difficult but possible path. Individual responsibility of citizens and families can be highly effective in promoting these values. In addition, raising public awareness, enforcing laws, and entrusting work to the capable and talented ones will provide more opportunities for promoting these values. But promoting these values ​​and combating extremism will be challenged if the families forget their social responsibilities for their children.”

 

Sonika Aryan, peace activist…

In the Q&A section of the program; In addition to the questions raised by the participants, the participants also expressed their different and contradictory views on the values of democracy, human rights and the fight against extremism. They showed their opposition to free society values by calling it a project the West is trying to implement in the country. On the other hand, the panel members provided convincing answers to their questions and concerns by highlighting the benefits free society values can bring for the people and society. They also recommended some valuable references to the participants in order to get a clear and concise picture of the subject.

One of the participants while asking questions from the panel members…

In the continuation of the program, the participants of the symposium discussed and exchanged views on the causes of extremism in the society and universities of Afghanistan, and proposed effective strategies to tackle extremism in the country.

Participants during group work…

The 3rd round of Youth Symposium for Peace and tolerance was concluded by Sayed Abbas Sadat & Jamil Popalzai who praised AELSO for conducting such programs and encouraged the youths to serve for promoting these values in their surrounding environments through forming volunteer groups and constantly working for expanding it.

Jamil Popalzai while concluding the symposium…

The program ended with the distribution of certificates for the participants and group photo by all the participants at the end of the program.

One of the participants while receiving her certificate…

@aelso communication & public relations department

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