Event Date: February 22, 2021 - 9:00 AM EST to 11:15 AM EST
Presented by CIPS, Fragile States Research Network (FSRN), Asian Studies Network (ASN), and The Asia Foundation
Registration required: Eventbrite
9:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. (Ottawa Time)
6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. (Kabul Time)
As 2021 begins, a peace agreement for immediate reduction and eventual end of violence is the priority for Afghanistan, reeling from the impact of Covid-19, a deteriorating economy, and rising insecurity. The peace talks in Qatar aim to address these issues. The political actors conducting these negotiations must act resolutely to ensure transparency in the peace process and to protect the Afghan population’s gains over the past two decades.
The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative to Afghanistan, Mr. Abdullah Ahmadzai, and Dr. Tabasum Akseer, Director of Policy and Research, will speak to the perceptions of the Afghan people on peace: if peace is achievable; the red lines for peace; what concessions Afghans are willing to make in the interest of peace; and relevant gender dimensions – the latter of particular interest to Canada. Their observations will draw from Wave 1 data from The Asia Foundation’s Afghanistan Flash Surveys, which provide data from all 34 provinces in a multi-wave format, tracked over five months from September 2020 to January 2021.
Sustainable peace requires national ownership, to be fostered through an all-inclusive peace process supported with a multi-sectoral meta policy dialogue. Civil society- driven initiatives for peace present opportunities for creating space for an endogenous dialogue for peace, addressing meta policy issues, and recognizing the need for inclusive civil society-driven initiatives. Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO) and National Advocacy Committee for Public Policy (NAC-PP) held a series of Open Forums for Peace since July 2019. A presentation by Dr. Saed Parto, the Director of Research, APPRO, will provide an overview of these forums’ findings and conclusions. He will invite the webinar participants to share their thoughts and insights on a realistic framework and agenda for peace in Afghanistan.
Abdullah Ahmadzai is The Asia Foundation’s county representative in Afghanistan. He oversees the Foundation’s wide range of programs in the areas of Governance and Elections, Islam and Development, Women’s Empowerment and Education, as well as the annual Survey of the Afghan People. Ahmadzai served as deputy country representative from 2012 to 2014. A seasoned development professional with expertise in national election administration, Ahmadzai was formerly chief electoral officer for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan. As head of the IEC Secretariat, he oversaw the 2010 elections for the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament; the first fully “Afghanized” national election involving limited technical support from the international community.
Tabasum Akseer is Director of Policy and Research in The Asia Foundation’s Afghanistan office. She oversees the Foundation’s annual Survey of the Afghan People, the broadest and longest running public opinion survey in the country. The Survey polls Afghans across all 34 provinces, including insecure and physically challenging environments. Based in Kabul, Tabasum provides overall strategic planning, management and guidance related to the Survey, and leads all writing and analysis. Among the research projects she leads are the National Disability Survey of Afghanistan 2018 and The Survey of the Afghan Returnees (2018-2021). Prior to her work at The Asia Foundation, Tabasum consulted on projects intersecting gender, peace, security, and human rights. Most recently, she was a post-doctoral research fellow and consultant at the Center for International and Defence Policy, at Queen’s University in Canada.
Saeed Parto, Director of Research at Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO), holds a Ph.D. in Economic Geography and specializes in policy and institutional analysis. He has worked in Afghanistan since 2006 and is currently the Director of Research at Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (appro.org.af), based in Kabul, and co-founder of APPRO-Europe (appro-europe.net), a non-profit network organization (ASBL) based in Brussels, Belgium. His work at both organizations since 2018 has focused on the peace process, protection of fundamental rights, and the role of civil society in peace negotiations.
Stephen Baranyi is a Full Professor with the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. He works at the nexus of development and security — on the challenges of security system reform, development cooperation, gender equality and persons with disability in fragile and conflict-affected states, especially in Haiti. Prior to joining the University in 2008, he worked as a practitioner with various governmental, non-governmental and research institutions in Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. He has published widely on issues related to peacebuilding and development fragile and conflict-affected states, as well as on Canadian policy in this domain.
Nipa Banerjee is a Senior Fellow with the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Banerjee earned Doctorate and Master’s degrees, specializing in development studies, from Toronto, Carleton and McMaster Universities in Canada. She served as a practitioner and policy analyst in international development and foreign aid for over 35 years. She worked with Canadian Universities Services Overseas (CUSO), International Development Research Center (IDRC) and 33 years in CIDA, Canada’s ODA agency (now amalgamated with Global Affairs Canada). She represented CIDA in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India/Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Afghanistan, heading Canada’s aid program in the four latter countries. She joined the University of Ottawa in July of 2007, teaching international development.