Nangarhar University students take peacebuilding discussions to communities
NANGARHAR – Looking to promote dialogue and contribute to local peace, peace centre members of Nangarhar University have been engaging communities in the country’s east.
During 2020, the United Nations supported a series of events in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces to promote and amplify local peace initiatives.
In one event, organized with the Nangarhar University Peace Centre, participants strategized on how they could be more involved and support local efforts aimed at fostering peace and social cohesion.
“Using our youth volunteer groups, we can reach out to wider communities, including those that are not easily accessible to the government,” said participant, Hila, from Nangarhar's Batikot district.
The students also expressed support for the Afghanistan peace negotiations, while calling for inclusion of more Afghan voices in the process.
"The peace talks in Doha should include the views of young people, including those on the Taliban side," said head of the Nangarhar University Youth Club, Ezat Khater.
During the workshop, participants also discussed how students take individual and collective efforts to spread peacebuilding messages to their home-towns.
For student Hanifullah Akhonzada from Rodat district, any free time is an opportunity to engage peers in his neighborhood. Akhonzada spoke about how, while attending a graduation ceremony, he brought together about 20 youths in Banda village, Rodat District, to amplify peace discussions from his university and media platforms.
Similarly, in the Yakhabanda area, Dehbala district, students brought together some 60 peers, including many young women, to discuss peace, extremism and other issues affecting Afghan youth.
UNAMA works with various institutions, and individuals to create platforms – using radio, social media, and television – for Afghans to engage in dialogue on pressing issues affecting their communities.
One such institution is the Nangarhar University Peace Centre, established by students in 2015 to foster a culture of peace through dialogue, mediation, engagement and peaceful resolution of conflicts among students and communities. UNAMA field office in Nangarhar organized and supported the event. Similar initiatives at other learning institutions have been held, including recently, a 5-day training on peaceful resolution of conflict at the University of Herat in the west.
In closing, participants pledged to support the government in any efforts to foster local and national peace. They also echoed expectations shared by many other young Afghans that a final agreement will build on the gains of the last two decades and user a future of peace, equality and opportunity for all.