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Diaspora Panel Probes Strategies for Peace and Governance in Afghanistan



London, United Kingdom – The Afghan Peace Dialogue partnered with UPF-United Kingdom in hosting an event to discuss “Strategies for Peace and Good Governance in Afghanistan” on January 10, 2024, at UPF headquarters in Lancaster Gate, London. The purpose was to examine the situation in Afghanistan following the overthrow of the government in 2021 and the emergence of the Islamic Emirate. Following the agenda of the Afghan Peace Dialogue, the aim of this cooperation is to study the future of the country, cultivate international relations for the future government, establish a legitimate and inclusive state in Afghanistan, and develop the necessary collaboration at the international level.


The Afghan Peace Dialogue and UPF have been working together to foster dialogue and find strategies for peace and development among the diaspora groups constituting the key communities of Afghanistan. Mr. Reza Jafari, president of the Afghan Peace Dialogue Movement, who has partnered with UPF in prior conferences in Vienna and Paris, extended invitations to several UK-based Afghan representatives. The event commenced with a planning meeting, followed by a conference addressing the imperative for such collaborative endeavors and exploring potential modalities for effective cooperation.


Mr. Umberto Angelucci, chair of UPF-Middle East, shared a compelling account of his seven-year life in Afghanistan. His passionate narrative resonated with the audience, shedding light on the challenging experiences he and his wife encountered, that sadly were not uncommon for those in the audience.


Amb. Shukria Barakzai, former Ambassador of Afghanistan to Norway, was honored as an Ambassador for Peace of UPF during the program. Her impactful speech, particularly focusing on the rights of women and the shifts observed over the 20 years of governance in cooperation with international forces, struck a chord with the audience as she reflected on the stark contrast following the recent transition of power to the Taliban government.


Several significant UPF figures participated in the event, underlining the organization's commitment to the conference and future collaborative initiatives. David Fraser Harris, secretary general of UPF-Middle East, served as MC, while Mr. Jacques Marion, co-chair of UPF-Europe and the Middle East, as well as former MP Mr. Keith Best, chair of UPF-UK,  reinforced the serious intent of the UPF in promoting peaceful dialogue between the communities that comprise Afghanistan.


Dr. Michael Balcomb, president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Europe and the Middle East, and Dr. Rahela Kaveer, president of the World Hazara Council, further emphasized the commitment to Afghanistan's future. Mr. Jafari's attendance despite recent health challenges, along with that of Dr. Kaveer, who flew in from the United States, highlighted the collective dedication to the crucial work of fostering dialogue among the diaspora communities.


The conference included an engaging panel discussion, including master’s degree student Ms. Farzana Adell, Mr. Jafari, Dr. Kaveer, Mr. Marion and Amb. Barakzai, who responded to questions from both the audience and the attending media, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas and perspectives.


The Lancaster Gate conference served as a pivotal moment in advancing collaborative dialogue for Afghan peace, bringing together diverse voices, experiences, and commitments in a shared effort to contribute positively to the nation's future.


 

By Robin Marsh, Secretary General, UPF-United Kingdom
January 10, 2024

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