Fearful for Afghanis’ tomorrow

Professor Diana Carlin taught Afghani students how to effectively debate. Now, she fears they will be silenced.

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Columnists

August 31, 2021 - 9:48 AM

Diana Carlin taught Afghani faculty members how to run debate programs in Afghanistan. Submitted Photo.

Five times I landed at the Kabul airport. Before touching down, I saw women doing what I was doing — pulling a headscarf out of a bag.

I experienced natural trepidation: Would I get through the immigration and identity card processes, pay a baggage helper appropriately to get me where I needed to go, find my contacts in a distant parking lot? It went more smoothly than anticipated, with most of the chaos ensuing from competition to transport my baggage and traversing a crowded path to the parking lot. It was a picture of calm compared to the chaos and death the world is now witnessing at the Kabul airport.

Between 2010 and 2013 I worked on an IFES — International Foundation for Electoral Services — project to develop university debate programs. The project’s Afghan founder spent much of his early life outside the country as a refugee. Upon returning, he wanted to prepare the next generation of leaders and find a way to resolve differences with words, not weapons.

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