"Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia: Supporting Democracy and Stability - The Path Ahead"

(Berlin, 28th - 30th May 2010)



Introduction

"Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia" is a three day program that represents the final part of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy’s "International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2010". The program aims to raise awareness of the history and development of Afghanistan and central Asia, explore the political, economic, and security challenges currently facing the region, and consider the role that Germany, Europe, the NATO member states, and other international partners can play in helping to ensure sustainable development, democracy, and stability.

"Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia" will take place in Berlin and will consist of lectures, seminars, and panel discussions held by leading figures from the fields of politics, diplomacy, economics, academia, civil society, and the private sector. These components will be complemented by cultural and social activities that will provide an opportunity to experience the diversity of cultures in central Asia and provide networking opportunities between the participants.

Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia (28th - 30th May 2010, Berlin), will focus in particular on the following issues:

  • The History and Development of the central Asian region - An exploration of the political and societal origins of modern day Afghanistan and its neighbouring states, focusing in particular on their early origins, their role during the Cold War, and their development since 2001.
  • International cooperation in Afghanistan - A consideration of the role played by Germany and the international community in providing financial, strategic, military, and other support to ensure stability and development in Afghanistan and the central Asian region.
  • Strengthening Democracy and Governance - An analysis of the challenges faced by national governments in ensuring democratic, transparent state institutions, and holding peaceful, free, and fair elections.
  • Economic Reform and the Development of the Private Sector in Afghanistan and central Asia - An analysis of the importance of strengthening the private sector in the region, in particular through the diversification of income opportunities and the support of international trade and investment.
  • Developing Human Capital - An analysis of the challenges faced in the provision of healthcare and education facilities and the repatriation of refugees and displaced peoples.
  • The Path Ahead and the Younger Generation - A look at the key challenges facing the next generation of Afghan and central Asian leaders in ensuring stability and development and a consideration of how they can be supported.

Program Methodology

"Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia: Supporting Democracy and Stability - The Path Ahead" will be an interdisciplinary program including the following components:

Lectures
A range of lectures will be held by experts from the fields of politics, diplomacy, economics, academia, civil society, and the private sector. These components will inform the participants about key perspectives related to the themes outlined above and will raise awareness of other salient issues concerning Afghanistan and central Asia. Each lecture will be followed by an interactive session with the speaker, providing participants with the opportunity to express their own viewpoints and ask further questions.

Seminars
The program will include structured interactive seminars moderated by experts in the field that offer participants the opportunity to take part in group discussions on subjects related to the themes outlined above. Seminars provide a valuable counterbalance to lectures and panel discussions by providing an opportunity for participants to express their own opinions and learn from each other.

Panel Discussions
The program will include interactive panel discussions featuring inter-disciplinary selections of speakers and will be moderated by an expert from the respective field. These discussions allow a more dynamic consideration of topics and encourage constructive debate on key points. Panel discussions will be followed by question and answer sessions with the audience.

Public Events and Cultural Activities

In addition to the program components outlined above, "Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia" will include evening events open to the general public. These events will consist of an academic component, such as a lecture or panel discussion, which will be followed by performances of traditional Afghan music and dance, after which Afghan cuisine will be served.

The three-day program will also be complemented by an online photography exhibition showcasing images taken in central Asia over the past decade. Public events play an important role by allowing a more diverse audience to learn about the program and the issues under discussion, and by providing further opportunities for participant networking.

Online Presentation
All components and material related to "Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia" will be available to the general public on the event webpage (www.understandingafghanistan.org). This will include videos of events, written reports, photos, and other related material. This documentation will be uploaded instantly.