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The Future of Afghanistan - 29 September 2021

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Chair: Dr Christine Cheng, Senior Lecturer in War Studies, King's College London

Panelists:

  • Professor Faten Ghosn, Distinguished Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy and Faculty, University of Arizona
  • Mr Abdullah Khenjani, former Deputy Minister of Coordination, Strategy & Policy in Afghanistan's State Ministry for Peace
  • Ms Nargis Nehan, former Director General of the Treasury Department at the Ministry of Finance, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education, and Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education
  • Najib Sharifi is president of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC)

 

It has been twenty years since the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban. In the wake of that defeat came an American occupation that killed 241,000 civilians, remade the country's political map, and also fundamentally challenged the institutions of Afghan society.

The recent withdrawal of US troops is set to remake the country anew. What is the future of Afghanistan? What could it be? What are the key internal and external dynamics going forward? What role, if any, can external actors play in this process? This roundtable promises a brutally honest conversation between prominent Afghan voices and scholars of Afghanistan.

Register via Zoom

 

Bios 

Dr Faten Ghosn is currently a Distinguished Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy and Faculty in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, and holds the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation Fund professorship. She has received several research awards, including a Minerva Initiative funded by the Department of Defense and The U.S. Army Research Office. A common theme running throughout her professional interests is the importance of the choice of strategy that is picked by actors to manage their conflicts and disagreements, how such strategies and policies are implemented, their effectiveness as well as their consequences. She has published in numerous academic and policy outlets, including American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science, International Negotiation, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Peace Research, and Public Choice. Her current research focuses on enemy images as obstacles to cooperation, ethics in fieldwork, forced migration, and transitional justice.

 

Mr Abdullah Khenjani was the Deputy Minister of Coordination, Strategy & Policy in Afghanistan's State Ministry for Peace. In this role, he coordinated the peace process with the Taliban on behalf of the Afghan government. Prior to joining the Afghan government, he was editor in chief at 1TV and a prominent broadcast journalist with his own television show. Mr. Khenjani holds an MA in Conflict, Security, and Development from King's College London where he was the recipient of the Alexandros Petersen Scholarship.

 

Nargis Nehan “Iron Woman of Kabul by Bloomberg” migrated to Pakistan during civil war when she was just 12 years old. While her family’s priority was to meet the very basic needs of life, given the very high desire she had for education, her family supported her to complete her education. As soon as she graduated from high school, she started working for an international organization to support her family while pursuing her higher education in the evening. When the Interim Administration of Afghanistan was established, Ms Nehan returned to Afghanistan to take part in country’s reconstruction. Ms Nehan has served public offices as Director General of the Treasury Department at the Ministry of Finance, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education, and Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education. During her service, Ms Nehan initiated several reform projects and implemented them successfully. Centralization and computerization of government revenues and expenditures, establishment of Treasury Single Account, establishment of the Grants Management Unit in Ministry of Education and facilitating development of Strategic Plan for Ministry of Higher Education are her major achievements. Ms. Nehan during her service in public sector earned the reputation of a patriot and a reformist woman. Currently besides advocating for women’s rights, she is a freelance consultant working for international organizations and firms. Ms Nehan is a role model in Afghanistan demonstrating capacity, commitment and dedication of Afghan women with a vision and determination.

 

Najib Sharifi is president of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC). He is a frequent political commentator on issues of Afghanistan and the region. His opinion pieces have appeared in various international outlets including Foreign Policy Magazine, Aljazeera English, Huffington Post, and the National Interest. He has also written for think tanks including Brookings. As a reporter, Najib has worked with the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, BBC and CNN. On behalf of the AJSC, he accpeted the 2017 International Press Institute- International Media Support's Free Media Pioneer Award. He completed his MA in Conflict, Security, and Development as the Alexandros Petersen scholar at King's College London. He tweets @Najibsharifi.

 

Dr Christine Cheng is Senior Lecturer in War Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of Extralegal Groups in Post-Conflict Liberia- How Trade Makes the State (OUP), winner of the 2019 Conflict Research Society’s Annual Book Prize. Working with the UK government’s Stabilisation Unit, she co-authored Securing and Sustaining Elite Bargains that Reduce Violent Conflict, the final report of the influential Elite Bargains and Political Deals project. At King’s, Dr Cheng teaches on the MA in Conflict, Security, and Development. She holds a DPhil from Oxford and an MPA from Princeton. She is co-editor of Corruption and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Selling the Peace?. Dr Cheng sits on the Advisory Board for Women in Foreign Policy, the Board of Trustees at Conciliation Resources, and the Scientific Advisory Board for swisspeace. She tweets @cheng_christine.

At this event

Christine  Cheng

Christine Cheng

Senior Lecturer in International Relations


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