Catalysts for change: a meeting with leading Afghan media professionals

Afghan media professionalsA delegation of leading Afghan media professionals visited Washington, D.C. under a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. The Foundation for Afghanistan had the privilege to meet with these prominent Afghan journalists, who represented both broadcast and print media.

The Foundation spoke to them about professional development programs in the United States. Executive Director Ahmad Shuja gave a presentation in Dari about educational opportunities and fellowships for Afghan professionals.

The visiting delegation represented some of Afghanistan’s premier media outlets, including TOLO TV, Ariana TV, Nargis Radio, Pajhwok News Agency, Radio HEELA and Radio Muska.

As part of Afghanistan’s civil society, the role of a robust media is critical in building an informed citizenry to strengthen Afghanistan’s nascent democracy.

A thriving media is one of Afghanistan’s biggest post-Taliban successes. Despite the difficulties and dangers inherent to a country like Afghanistan, these journalists have been diligent and brave, resurrecting the country’s media out of the ashes of decades of conflict.┬áDozens of private TV channels and radio stations and hundreds of independent magazines and daily newspapers have sprung up in the last 10 years, making Afghanistan one of the most dynamic media markets in the world.

Once dormant during the civil war and the Taliban regime, Afghanistan’s film industry is also making a comeback.

The skills and experiences Afghan media professionals gain from their day-to-day work, often under difficult circumstances, would be invaluable to any American university or fellowship program. Shuja explained the uniqueness of these journalists’ potential contribution to US-based programs and urged them to take advantage of these opportunities for cultural exchange and professional development.

The Foundation’s presentation, hosted by the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, was well received. A question-and-answer session and general discussion followed the presentation. The journalists also learned about the Foundation’s scholarship programs for Afghan students in Afghanistan and the United States.

As they go home, the Foundation will stay in touch with them to share through them opportunities for Afghan students and professionals, thus contributing to the development of human capacity in Afghanistan.

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