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UPF-France Honors UN International Day of Peace with Program Dedicated to Afghanistan

Paris, France—UPF co-sponsored an International Day of Peace event together with the Afghan Peace Dialogue organization. The conference, titled “Afghanistan: Current Situation, Perspectives for Building a United and Prosperous Country,” was held on September 22, 2023, at the Paris UPF headquarters.

Afghan Peace Dialogue is led by a young Franco-Afghan, Reza Jafari, a UPF Ambassador for Peace who has dedicated his life to supporting fellow Afghan migrants in France and bringing peace and reconciliation to his country.

After a brief talk on the UN International Day of Peace by UPF-France Vice President Patrick Jouan, Mr. Jafari spoke about his efforts to bring significant Afghan political players to the dialogue table, including tribal leaders, representatives of the Taliban rulers, and members of the civil society.

Patricia Lalonde from the Geopragma Institute, a former member of the European Parliament, described the work she has done since the 1990s in support of Afghan women: developing schools for Afghan girls and organizing working visits of Afghan women parliamentarians to Europe.

Dr. Ali Rastbeen, president of the Académie de Géopolitique de Paris, gave a sharp analysis of the Taliban regime and its prospects in the current international context.

Mr. Jafari warmly introduced a video message of support by his adopted father, Dr. Pierre Dutertre, a psychologist and the founder of Parcours d’Exil, a Paris center providing comprehensive physical and psychological care for migrants. After Mr. Jafari arrived in France as an orphaned adolescent, following a long and dangerous migration from Iran, Dr. Dutertre took care of him.

Another video message in support of the Peace Day event was sent by Hon. Mohammad Alam Izdyarin, an Afghan senator who recorded his message from New York, where he was attending the UN General Assembly meeting.

Mr. Jafari then introduced two Paris city officials who are actively supporting his activities on behalf of migrants: François Béchiau, a Council member of Paris’ 19th District and of the Great Paris Metropole, and Geneviève Garrigos, a City Hall counselor and former president of Amnesty International-France. Both expressed their admiration for Mr. Jafari’s daring work and spoke about their advocacy for human rights through their political engagement.

Two representatives of the Afghan diaspora, who migrated to France after the takeover by the Taliban, conveyed the resilience needed for migrants to apply their professional skills in a new country and a new language. Shabnam Salahshor, an Afghan journalist, talked about her work for women’s rights in her country and in France. Jalil Shafayee, author of two books about life under the Taliban and the challenge of exile, gave his perspective on his country’s political future.

In a concluding speech, UPF-France President Jacques Marion explained about the various educational programs that UPF has initiated in Afghanistan. He also mentioned that in 2017 the great Afghan educator Dr. Sakena Yacoobi was awarded the Sunhak Peace Prize that was established by the UPF founders.

The event was an enlightening and heartwarming experience, ending around local food and drink prepared by members of the Afghan diaspora.

By Jacques Marion, President, and Patrick Jouan, Vice President, UPF-France

September 22, 2023


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