Page 1

»Building bridges« Cooperation as the base of stabilisation Page 4

»Balancing between soft power and military muscle« NATO‘s mission Page 8

»Peace keeping perceptions« Citizens‘ perception of NATO Page 9


2 EDITORIAL ust like the readers of this Orange Magazine, we as the creators care deeply about the future of Afghanistan and even though Afghanistan is one of the most unstable countries in the world and NATO‘s mission in Afghanistan is seen as one of the most demanding tasks, you have all accepted the challenge to try to make a difference. And just like you used teamwork to create the outcome of this forum, we used teamwork to create this magazine. Hopefully teamwork will also lead to a positive development in Afghanistan. It is with pleasure that we have covered this event and we would like to thank the organizers of this event for inviting us to do so. We really treasure the experience and what we have learned from this conference and we really hope that you enjoy reading this magazine - this memory of what you helped to create with all your clever insights in the matter of Afghanistan that we simply put on paper. Anna Siitam

A royal reception RemINDING the participants of their importance, an official reception was held according to historic and representative Italian style with Giovanni Viale, a representative from the City Council of Pisa. By Anna Siitam

I

n the beautiful and majestic hall of Palazzo Ganbacorti, the official reception of the NATO Afghan Student Forum was held to honor the participants for their work for the future. The soft and red velvet covered seats would make anyone feel like royalties and the formal speech from Viale added to the almost religious experience in the art filled Sala. Viale modestly called his work a small issue compared to the work that the participants are dealing with, “But it is important to start small on a low level to build up something, even if it today might be hard to see a positive future for Afghanistan”. The city of Pisa is on its own involved in many peace operations for Afghanistan. Not only direct actions such as military transports but also post-war reconstructions and peace keeping. Viale thanked the participants for their contributions to the peace and rebuilding of the troublesome Afghan area, “It is of great importance to support the young generation and I wish you the best of luck for the future to come”.


3

2007 NATO Afghan Student Forum 17 · 23 September 2007 in PISA (Italy)

Orange interviewed Claudia Croci, 28, the forum coordinator for the NATO Afghan Student Forum 2007 at the Scuola Superiore Sant´Anna in Pisa. By Sophie Bleich Orange: What is Scuola Sant´Anna? Croci: It is a public university, but it is a special one. The mission of the Scuola is to work for excellence. We have a very limited number of students, right now it’s 500, and high entrance criteria. If you pass the entrance test, you’ll receive a scholarship for the entire time of your studies. We have several programs, including a B.A., M.A. and PhD-program, which many European students attend. Here you can study applied sciences such as: Political Science, Law, Engineering and Medicine. Orange: How did the cooperation between Sant´Anna and NATO start? Croci: I took part in the last forum and in the end I decided to propose a draft for the second forum. Later on NATO decided to have the forum at Sant´Anna and we started the cooperation.

Orange: What were the results from the first forum? Croci: In the first forum one of the main results was to stress the importance of the involvement of the population, to start to think about Afghanistan from their point of view. When we spoke about the possibilities to involve them in the reconstruction process we also saw the importance of seeing Afghanistan in its regional context. This lead to a second forum since we wanted to start a constructive partnership in the area, especially with the younger leaders, who are the future generation. For us it was important to start building these bridges in the region and form collaborations. The forum went from a discussion level to a network level. Orange: What can this network achieve? Croci: The participants will start to think about their countries from

a different perspective. It will increase communication and improve the knowledge of each other. Misperception is one of the main obstacles in the stabilization process in this region, so we should be aware not to create a wrong perception of reality. Orange: Will there be another NATO Afghan Student Forum? Croci: After the forum I will turn in a proposal to have another meeting. To me it makes no sense to do it in Europe again, but if there are funds, I’d like to do it in Central Asia. I already searched for further funding and if you have an interesting topic support can be given. Orange: What are the participants supposed to take home from this forum? Croci: I think they’ll bring some sort of impression that dialog is possible. That there are some persons who are willing to hear what they’ve got to say and who are willing to work with them. They should overcome misperception, start reciprocation and build confidence. With this we can create something concrete together.


4

Opening the event was Daniele Riggio, representative from NATO along with Claudia Croci, forum coordinator and Andrea de Guttry from the Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna. by Anna Siitam

Starting to build bridges ust as silent as they were respectful the 35 participants, from Afghanistan, Central Asia as well as NATO countries, started their first of three intensive days to come. In a peaceful atmosphere the students were welcomed in the beautiful Aula Magna Storica. Guttry welcomed the participants to the most wonderful city, in the most wonderful region in the most wonderful country with a big smile. Rigio then invited all the students to be as interactive as possible in this second NATO Afghan Student Forum for a deeper and more regional content based forum. Even though Rigio arrived to Pisa without his suitcase he managed to come well prepared as well as well dressed, just like all the participating students who presented themselves as highly educated and deeply involved in this forums issue. Croci expressed her optimism for the future of Afghanistan. The success of setting up a new constitution and the new government gives hope, but all of this is useless if the population is not involved in the process. “Just as Afghanistan needs to build bridges with the neighbouring countries, we can all start today with meeting and talking to each other“, Croci stressed the importance of seeing Afghanistan in its regional context and pointed out the

lack of this point of view today; “You can easily think that Afghanistan is an island when you look at the coverage in the media. The problematic of Afghanistan is not just of internal dynamic but also of regional.“ There was a shared view of importance of communication and regional co-operation in the region between the participants. Afghanistan needs constructive partnerships and the Central Asian countries have so far failed in supporting one another. Samuil Lozanov from Bulgaria, shared his concerns about the problematic in how to involve the population in development issues instead of illegal activities where money attracts. The students from Afghanistan responded to Lozanov with the lack

of education in the region; “There is a high wish in Afghanistan for education and this is also one of the main goals for the next time in developing the country. This is needed for the population to understand the changes that are happening“, Mohammed Azam, from Afghanistan filled in. Many students also shared the wish for a common organization or platform in resemblance to the European Union for central Asia to discuss issues on a common ground to start political as well as social co-operations. Cooperation seems to be a key word both on political and grass root level for the stabilization process in Afghanistan. “It is time to build bridges. Real bridges, and we can start here today“, Claudia exclaimed.


5

2007 NATO Afghan Student Forum 17 · 23 September 2007 in PISA (Italy)

Conflict continuation Later on Croci agreed that these bridges just have to be rebuilt, due to the fact that they existed before. Even though there have been some conflicts with Afghanistan and its neighboring countries. by Sophie Bleich Being asked to speak about this Afghan conflict Elisa Giunchi from the University of Milan was unsure which conflict in Afghanistan to inform about but decided to give a brief overview of the Afghan conflict history in general. Conditional upon several conflicts with several players there are always going to be different perceptions of the conflicts, stated Giunchi. In her opinion Pakistan is one of the most important countries when it comes to influencing Afghanistan in its conflict history. In reference to this she especially concentrated in her lecture on the historical relationship between both countries. “For understanding the current situation in Afghanistan you have to be aware of its history“, Giunchi said. Mentioning the knowledge about islamistic movements and their impact on stability in the country she is certain that they are one of the reasons for the status quo in Afghanistan. Being aware of the fact that even the US and some Central Asian states supported the islamistic movements within history by providing them with money and

trainings can explain the situation a little more, she told the participants. After the lecture the listeners found themselves in a one-on-one interview with the representative of the Milan University. They took their chances on bringing up some pertinent questions. First of all they agreed on the importance of knowing about the fact that the islamistic movements have been supported not

just from the inside but also from the outside of Afghanistan. Furthermore some participants evinced their hope for a better relationship and communication with Pakistan, since both countries are important players in the regional context of solving conflicts in the area. By cooperating with each other they’ll have a chance on stabilizing the unstable area.


6

“Afghanistan is waking up to see the world”

Khalida Nasir and Saira Durani, both 26, are well-educated and working women from the most discussed country in this NATO Afghan Student Forum– Afghanistan. Khalida even presented her view of the Afghan people’s perception towards security in Afghanistan. In this interview they shared a closer insight on Afghan society with us. by Sophie Bleich Orange: How would you describe Afghanistan to a foreigner? Khalida: My country has a fantastic history and it has been a multiethnic and multilingual country for a long time. Afghanistan used to be the battlefield for a lot of conflicts between communism and imperialism. It is very traditional, conservative and hospitable and to me the landscape is unique. Orange: What is the biggest issue in Afghanistan right now? Khalida: It is very recently, that people have arrived to the 21st century and the practice of modernisation. It is almost finished in other countries and Afghanistan is waking up to see the world. Saira: Nowadays the mayor issue that catches the attention of the international community is the security issue and the opium cultivation. We are right now famous for this.

Orange: How did the leadership of the Taliban affect the daily life? Khalida: We are living in the capital, we were not affected by them, but the population on the countryside was. We can’t ignore this terror, especially in the remote areas. Saira: We all know that especially females are affected, they can´t go to school, because the Taliban burned down their schools or their families didn’t allow them to go to school. Khalida: But we can also not ignore the men, who were also affected. They are also assaulted when they go to school. Everyone is targeted, especially when you work for an international organisation. Orange: Do you feel secure in your homeland? Saira: No, because we can’t even go outside. We come directly home after work. If we have to go somewhere else we take a taxi. But at night we do not go out at all, otherwise my family worries. Besides that everyone

has a gun at his house, that’s why we can’t feel safe. Khalida: If I go to far from home alone and its dark I think of kidnapping. It is not only limited to foreigners. There is a reason for this: I work with an international organization. We don’t feel safe at all in Afghanistan. It is a lot easier for us to go to Italy than to go from Kabul to Heart, for example. Orange: What is education in Afghanistan like? Saira: A lot of girls don’t go to school, because of the security problem and there are simply not enough teachers and material. In addition to that most of them have to help their families. Maybe in some years this will improve. Khalida: Now people are waking up from their winter sleep. The new generation is going for higher degrees. In 2007 the Master programmes started for the first time. More parents are now interested in getting higher education for their


7

2007 NATO Afghan Student Forum 17 · 23 September 2007 in PISA (Italy)

kids, even in very remote areas, but there are still obstacles, such as the lack of resources. We are lucky, that we were able to study, most girls don’t have this opportunity. Orange: What is daily life like in Afghanistan? Saira: Normal people may have a good life, but in some provinces it´s hard for most women, because they are not allowed to say anything. There is the topic of honor killing and forced marriage. Another problem is the women’s access to health care. Khalida: If anyone wants to see what it was like thousand years ago, they would just have to go to Afghanistan. Saira: I can’t even tell my relatives that I have a job. And if I would not put on a headscarf everyone would talk about me. It is the same with having a degree, people don’t accept it. In Islam men and women shall be treated equally, but I don’t see this.

Saira

Orange: What are you going to take home from this event? Khalida: I know how NATO is working and helping my country. I was really concerned about the missing interest of the international community in Afghanistan, but now I feel better. Saira: I will take home good experiences, good memories and a long-term commitment by the NATO Secretary General. Now I feel relieved. Khalida


8

It is a common fact that there are NATO troops present in Afghanistan, but what does the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation want to achieve in the war-stricken country and what strategy is used? by Yannick Brusselmans

NATO’s Afghanistan mission Balancing between soft power and military muscle

“A

fghanistan is not Bosnia or Kosovo, the Afghan mission is a totally different ballgame.” Daniele Riggio, information officer at NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, leaves no doubt about the unique nature of the NATO operation in Afghanistan. “This mission is a landmark for our organisation as it was the first time in NATO’s history that we took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area. With 9/11 the parameters completely shifted and as a result NATO is today involved in three different continents. This was unthinkable in the past”, Riggio stresses.

NATO’s Afghanistan Mission Facts & Figures • • • • • •

$26.8 billion invested since 2001 40.000 troops 37 participating countries 1 billion square meters of mine contaminated land cleared 7 million children and adolescents receiving education 4000 km of roads built

The priorities of NATO’s presence in Afghanistan are twofold. “It’s obvious we first have to establish a sustainable security framework, but apart from that there lies a major challenge in promoting good governance. That way we can put a halt to corruption, which is the driving factor behind a wide range of destabilizing factors. Corruption fuels the drug industry, which in its turn fuels insurgencies. So if you eradicate corruption, this has a positive effect on Afghan society as a whole.” Afghan ownership is the key principle of NATO’s philosophy. “The highest level of credibility can only be attained by Afghans themselves, working in the field. Eventually it’s not up to NATO to enforce peace and sustainability on the ground, we are only an enabler.” In that respect, Riggio emphasizes the vital significance of finding the ideal mix between diplomacy and military force. “We are constantly looking for the right balance between soft power and military muscle. We can’t limit ourselves to solely military action or only diplomacy. One can’t succeed without the other.” Sexy suicide attack

In order to win the battle for a safe and peaceful Afghanistan the support of the ordinary Afghan in the street is crucial. But also the public opinion

of the NATO member states plays a decisive role. “Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to spread one global message about the Afghanistan mission. Every member state emphasises different topics to sell the mission to their public opinion, so there is not one single, clear-cut story out there”. Riggio also regrets the shortsighted coverage of the Afghan issue in Western media. “Unfortunately, mainstream journalists never want to go behind the security story. From their point of view, a suicide attack is much more ‘sexy’ than the opening of a new school, built by NATO troops. That way, the level of violence becomes the only parameter for the media to measure the success of our mission, which is a pity.” When asked how much longer foreign troops are going to stay in Afghanistan, Riggio quotes NATO’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. “For this mission there is no end-date, but an end-state. NATO’s task is only over when the Afghan authorities themselves can secure a sustainable peace. This can’t be achieved overnight and takes a long-term commitment of all participating countries. But I am absolutely sure all these efforts will eventually lead to a safe and democratic Afghanistan.”


9

2007 NATO Afghan Student Forum 17 · 23 September 2007 in PISA (Italy)

Peacekeeping perceptions Invaders or PeacekeEpers? What are the citizens’ thoughts on the ongoing NATO-mission? Two consultants, Asadullah Mauj and Bahadar Hellali, provided an insight into the thoughts and feelings of the NATO presence in the view of the Afghans. By Nils Spreen

A

fter a long day of listening to presentations and discussions, the forum gathered once more in the “Magna Aula Storica” to discuss the perception of the Afghans towards NATO’s presence in the country. You might expect the participants to be more tired than they actually seemed to be. Perhaps the superb Italian coffee also helped out. “Decisions are made by people. People are decision makers!” Asadullah Mauj, the external assistant director of AIESEC as well as the deputy director of Kabul Engineering Technical NGO stated. According to the perception of Afghanistan’s inhabitants it is up to NATO actors to confirm the Afghans opinion. To find out the populations attitude towards NATO presence Mauj interviewed Afghan students and National Assembly members. Critics may lay in on this qualitative study that those unique statements does not regard the Afghan peoples point of view since the requested persons are mostly inhabitants from the city of Kabul. The voices of provincials are thereby unheard. This survey does how ever give a first glance of selected Afghans

present thoughts on their situation. According to the survey the respondents are aware of both positive and negative influences of the NATO presence. They all acknowledged the consisting peace and the prevention of a reoccurence of the civil war, as well as they helped the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in their work for social and economical development. The ongoing NATO-mission in Afghanistan is seen as essential to keep the security in the country and helps to keep out influences from the neighbouring countries. On the other hand the respondents think that the NATO does not see Afghanistan from the inhabitants point of view since they don´t consider the culture in the region. In addition the Afghans have become more and more sensitive for civil casualties caused by bombardements. For them it is unacceptable that women and children die during air raids. NATO soldiers are therefore increasingly seen as invaders and this might lead to an expansion of the Taliban fraction. Bahadar Hellali, former IT officer for the ministry of foreign affairs and currently an ICT specialist for the Ministry of Education in Kabul

sees the positive achievements of the NATO presence. He acknowledges the stabilization process, the peace building and higher security that NATO has helped to achieve. The female Afghan participants also praised the present development in the life of all women although there are still difficulties in the provinces. A higher number of schools and more female teacher and politicians as role models could help to improve this process. Still many Afghans perceive NATO troops as invaders. There is a defective coordination between NATO, the Afghan government and the tribal Elders. There is also a lack of information to the citizens and many feel hurt and don’t understand why NATO-soldiers are allowed to go into their houses without permission from the Supreme Court. To keep strengthening the ongoing process of securing the country NATO should communicate their achievements to people who are unaware of their activities. The Afghan army and police should be allowed to assume the leadership over military operations which would increase the people’s trust for the government. Also a better cooperation with the tribal leaders who are still eminently respected in the population should be obtained. NATO can still play a leading role in the development of the country. The Afghans wish for more long term activities in regard to culture and religion to be able to help themselves lead their country to a better future.


10

Challenges for Afghanistan By Honorata Zapasnik side there are not enough religious school, from the second one some major provinces don‘t even have universities. Another important issue is the problem of freedom of speech for the media which is not yet totally implemented. The future for Afghanistan

Q

uraishi Rahmattulah who is also a participant at the forum, has a clear aim. He want to share the Afghan culture and show how international organizations can improve their mission in the country. Life in Afghanistan is not the same as a few years ago and improvements can always be made. First of all he puts attention on the insecurity in the region. He blames the security forces for passive reactions against warlords. He notices that there is almost no coordination between the international forces and the authorities. The Afghan intelligence also has a very limited capacity and he dismisses the administrative

vox pops „a lot of similarities.“ My impression is, that there are a lot of similarities. European youths are open minded and I think we share a lot of values. Quraishi Rahmattulah, Afghanistan

employees as corrupt. There are also many things to do in the administrative, political field. Administrative laws are established but not implemented. Personnel is missing for important positions. There are no plans for agricultural development. On the countryside some nomads are not supported and these people can easily be left without help. Many farmers have difficulties with high taxes and they can’t earn enough money on their products since no one cares for their interests. There is a slow process on improving the standard of education especially in the rural areas. From one

How can international services improve their activity in Afghanistan? Rahmattulah says that foreigners must respect local tradition and values. They should discuss their issues with the local communities. The military needs to be complemented by intensified and coordinated civilian reconstruction efforts. Afghanistan should build up relationships with their neighboring countries and engage them to increase regional and cross-border cooperation. Improving the governmental administration is also important. Rahmattulah believes that systematic increase of entitlements for government staff is needed to ensure persistence and avoid corruption. Not all participants agreed with his point of view since they think the improvements are huge already. The government should how ever put more attention on public education and administrative issues. The discussion ended with the statement: “All of these are problems for Afghanistan, but we need time to find solutions for them”.

What was your first impression of Europe? „I love the Italian nature.“ My first impression was about the nature. I love the Italian nature, especially the mountains and of course the people. Otabek Umarov, Uzbekistan

„much fast interaction.“ It´s my first visit to Europe and it is very different from Central Asia. Here is so much fast interaction like for example in business. Danyiar Usenov, Kyrgyztan


11

2007 NATO Afghan Student Forum 17 · 23 September 2007 in PISA (Italy)

Instability in Afghanistan remains Francisca Bostyn has been a political advisory officer for NATO since 2006. Four years before she went the first time to Afghanistan. She sees great progress but still a lot of challenges. NATO is a political and military organization and the Senior Civilian Representative, the SCR is a political representative group working for NATO. “SCR is in fact the ears, voices, and eyes of the Secretary General of NATO in Afghanistan” Francisca Bostyn explaines. Unfortunately the SCR has no military power or funding lines and are therefore unable to implement projects. The SCR does how ever play a monitoring, observing, facilitating role and try to bring different actors together. “We also communicate with the Afghan people. For example we travel a lot to our provinces and talk to their authorities. We are very active in transmitting NATO messages to the citizens”. Three of the biggest challenges in Afghanistan according to Bostyn are security, building up a strong government and the relationship with neighboring countries. “In Afghanistan we don't have a secure situation. We have problems with many anti-national armies working against a secure state. We must therefore try to strengthen the Afghan army”. She doesn’t think

that more international troops are the solution since soldiers can't fight suicides and kidnaps. Instead she wants a larger investment in the police and security sector. “Security is not something that can be built up without a deep connection to a well working parliament”, she continues. Many politicians in Afghanistan today are unsure of their role and limitations and as a result the decision-making processes along with important discussions take time. The politicians are unable to deliver all basic services to the citizens, especially in the rural areas but if this improves the support for the governing system would most likely increase. The drug industry has a big impact on security and corruption and the government fights a hard battle against it. Bostyn is although positive; “A lot of internal problems could be solved if we put more attention on neighboring countries like Pakistan in which we share common problems”. In her opinion good social relationship between countries, both economical and political could provide stabilization to the whole region.

vox pops „participation is my prize.“ I won a Bulgarian essay writing competition about NATO’s role in the 21st century. The participation in this forum is my prize. Samuil Lozanov, Bulgaria

NATO agreed to support the country by running projects, enabling and monitoring Afghanistan. They therefore created Provincial Reconstruction Teams; PRT’s which includes military services and civilian experts. “A lot of PRT‘s I visited are military dominated. They are from different countries but coordination still exists. We do how ever have a PRT handbook which explains how PRT should work”. The situation in the provinces is really insecure but almost 90 percent of the territory is today secure enough for PRT elements. “PRT can cooperate with Afghans and show them solutions“ but as Bostyn concludes, “NATO should not stay any longer in Afghanistan than what is absolutely necessary”.

How are you involved in this issue about Afghanistan? „representing the NGO.“ I am representing the Slovakian NGO ‘Centre for European & North Atlantic Affairs’, who sent me to this forum to increase my experience on security issues and NATO. Alexander Karvai, Slovakia

„it is a national interest.“ I´ve always been curious about the Lithuanian mission in the Goro province. I met soldiers who’ve been there and heard about their experience. For us it is a national interest. Renata Skardziute, Lithuania


12 Working voluntary for Afghanistan

Torn like the goat in Buzkashi In addition to the armed NATO forces, a whole array of non-governmental associations is helping the Afghan population get back on its feet. The 3.000 NGO’s active in the Afghan region don’t always have the easiest of tasks. by Yannick Brusselmans and Nils Spreen

D

r. Arne Strand from the Norwegian Christian Michelsen Institute notices two top priorities for NGO’s like their own in Afghanistan. “There is the obvious task of reconstruction and the implementation of social projects, but I also see an important role in the field of civil society institutions. Afghanistan is a very young democracy, for example sixty percent of the members of parliament are former warlords. These politicians have to be held accountable by the NGO’s to make sure they do their job.” Strand realizes this is not an easy mission as “it’s not always easy to rise against those who are paying your salary.” Corruption remains the main threat for the NGO’s who are active in Afghanistan. “That’s why non-governmental organizations need to be much more transparent, especially towards the Afghan community. At the moment a lot of NGO’s work with sub-sub-

subcontractors, which makes it very difficult to find out how money is being distributed and thus fuels the mismanagement of funds” A different problem is the presence of profit-organizations who pretend to be NGO’s. “There is nothing wrong with making a profit, but than you should be registered as an enterprise, not as an NGO. Such misleading practices damage the image of all NGO’s, even those that are delivering fantastic work.” To wrap up his speech Dr. Strand referres to Buzkashi, the traditional Afghani game where horse riders try to pitch a goat carcass into a target. “The NGO’s in Afghanistan are in danger of ending up just like the goat, not torn between two horse riders, but divided between the political scene, foreign donors and the Afghan government. The NGO’s have yet to find a clear role in Afghan society and in my opinion this can only happen if more proper Afghan NGO’s arise, who are really rooted in society.” Youth networking

Harald Thorud, President of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA), approaches the NGO issue from a different perspective. Thorud sees NGO’s as a decisive factor in the long-term process to repacify Afghanistan. Not only present but also future leaders and lobbyists need a solid base to start their activities. Therefore a get-together of young ambitious people can play a key role in forming a promising future society.

“I’m not pretending to be an expert about Afghanistan“, admitted Thorud. His role at this forum is restricted to giving advice on networking and how to get young people involved in issues like the construction of a civil society. In that way the YATA organization can be understood as a specialized youth related section of NGO’s. As “one of the strongest and most influential youth NGO networks in the world”, YATA´s main aim is to encourage young future leaders to get together, share their experiences and to establish a network in which youth can speak with one strong voice. Since its foundation in 1996 the association helps young people to organize and act as a part of the civil society in their home countries. It is a persisting problem that people in western countries mostly just listen to western experts. It is also of the utmost importance to hear what people present in a conflict-prone region like Afghanistan themselves have to say about their appraisement. To start up a dialogue with them can be seen as a first step in getting to know each other and understanding regional conflicts as an outsider. “I’m not telling you that I have any solutions”, said Thorud, “but we can discuss now and here”. In this spirit the participants from Central Asia and different NATO countries interacted – not only in the official part of the programme but also during their idle time – discussing, exchanging views and networking.


13

2007 NATO Afghan Student Forum 17 路 23 September 2007 in PISA (Italy)

The well but yet unknown city of Pisa It was like going back in time when arriving to Pisa. Not only in regard to the historic and magnificent sites and buildings but also the weather. Pisa still has summer in contrast to Scotland where the season has already changed to autumn. by Anna Siitam

P

isa is well known for its history although the origins of Pisa remain unknown. The Pelasgi, the Greeks, The Etruscans or the Ligurians could have founded the city with historical remains already from the 5th century BC. Very much history is left in this small city of modestly 185km虏 and a population of around 90 000. Walking by the famous Leaning Tower makes you believe the city inhabits millions of people. Most of these people must how ever be tourists, in consideration to their t-shirts, language and the fact that most of them seem to desire a picture of themselves in front of the tower, pretending to keep the tower from leaning over. Actually even the history of the tower seems to be somewhat unknown since it is not signed by its artist. The site of the leaning tower, the beautiful white cathedral and the botanic garden is most of the day

packed with tourists. Luckily I walked by an early morning right before 8.00am and could then see the history without the cheesy tourists and the crazy street salesmen trying to sell you fake watches or paint your picture. This early walk made the buildings feel real and somewhat magic in their glory. Being stuck in a crowd of tourists makes me feel like I am at Disneyland and the white stones are just pieces of plastic. There are how ever more things to do in Pisa as a tourist than just the leaning tower and its surroundings. As a first time tourist visiting, I also tried real Italian pizza (cause how could a pizza really be Italian anywhere else?) and pasta along with espresso. It is also hard not to see the stunning Italian architecture and small little churches wherever you go. Even though the tastes might not be so different, the feeling sure is. Yes, I am in Pisa. Yes I am in Italy. And it is bellisimo!


14

Brussels calling Pisa, do you copy? “Good afternoon Pisa, can you see and hear me?” A resolute voice breaks the silence in the impressive, fresco-decorated Magna Aula of Pisa’s Scuola Sant’Anna. by Yannick Brusselmans

T

he voice resonating in the aula belongs to NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, appearing on a big video screen from his office in Brussels. And although we may be more than 1.000 kilometers apart, the wonders of technology give the participants the unique opportunity to confront NATO’s leader with their most pertinent questions. In this short but fruitful questioning and answering session Mr. de Hoop Scheffer once again stresses the importance of Afghan ownership. “We have to be careful so that we don’t lose the battle for the Afghan hearts and minds through our robust military presence.” In this respect de Hoop Scheffer has a clear message for the Afghan participants in the room: “It is my job to convince NATO member states to keep supporting our efforts in Afghanistan, but it is up to you to convince your compatriots of the necessity of our mission. The Afghan population absolutely needs to know why we are there and what we are doing.”

Fight for freedom

When asked about the supposed intentions of certain NATO members to withdraw their troops, de Hoop Scheffer replies that he is opposed to such plans, as he feels they undermine the much-needed long-term commitment in Afghanistan. “The NATO alliance is based on solidarity and even though member states can sovereignly decide about their participation, I strongly encourage them to maintain their solidarity with the Afghan people.” NATO’s Secretary General concludes his videoconference with a vigorous pleading to continue fighting for universal values like democracy and peace. “NATO must strive to ensure that all Afghan men and women can enjoy the same freedom that is so common to many of us. We have to realize we are in a completely different moral category than those who blow up innocent Afghan civilians and NATO soldiers. Nevertheless our mission can only be successful if we impose our own values upon those insurgents.”

Peaceful Partners by Yannick Brusselmans

T

he stabilization of Afghanistan cannot be achieved without a profound recognition to its regional context. Afghanistan’s neighbor countries are of key importance on the road to success. This is where the Partnership for Peace comes into play. The Partnership is a special programme allowing

non-NATO states to build up an individual relationship with NATO. Particularly in Central Asia the Partnership can play a crucial role in stabilizing the entire region. Since the end of the Cold War 23 different countries joined as NATO-partners. The key to this success is the individual approach, which gives every partner country

the opportunity to choose a specific cooperation tailored to its individual needs. Based on a commitment to the democratic principles of the Alliance, the purpose of the Partnership for Peace is to increase stability, reduce threats to peace and build strong security relationships between NATO and the partner countries.


15

2007 NATO Afghan Student Forum 17 · 23 September 2007 in PISA (Italy)

The European Youth Press

Orange

The European Youth Press is an umbrella association of young journalists in Europe. It involves more than 48 000 young journalists less than 30 years of age. Up to now the young association consists of thirteen national youth media associations. The objectives of the European Youth Press are the strong cooperation among national youth media structures in Europe and their support. The overall aim is to strengthen the role of youth media and the freedom of press in Europe. The association sees itself as a service for the national structures and will foster projects of the different partners and projects that are organised by young media makers in Europe. The association provides contact forums and educational seminars for multipliers of the member associations and forces internal and external communication among all partners. With concrete projects, e.g. the international event magazine „Orange“ with print magazines or Blogs, PodCasts and V-Casts, the association wants to give young media makers from all over Europe the opportunity to cooperate directly with each other. Above all, the aim of all member associations and the umbrella structure is to inspire young people to deal with media and take an active part in society by fostering objective and independent journalism.

Orange is a Europe based event and theme magazine made by young journalists. This creates learning by doing experiences for the young journalists and also a magazine with a young and innovative view for the reader. The fact that the journalists come from different countries with different backgrounds of course makes this magazine very unique. Oranges have been created on a European basis since 2004 on several different topics and events such as political topics, religion and different festivals. The aim of the magazine is to let young journalists from all over Europe meet, work together and create multi-faced magazines with new and interesting contents. Creating it means having an exciting time in a quite unusual environment. Reading it means getting facts and opinions directly from young and innovative journalists. All in all, our Orange is always fresh and juicy. Nato Afghan Forum This is the second year Nato organizes this Afghan Student Forum. This year the forum continued the discussion that started in 2006 and addressed a new issue: the future of Afghanistan in its regional context. This years forum was organized by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa (Italy) and the AIESEC Afghanistan in Kabul (Afghanistan), which worked in close cooperation with NATO Public Diplomacy

Division in Brussels (Belgium). The Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna is a Centre of Excellence which promotes education and research through under and post graduate studies, master programmes and PhD programmes in the field of Social Sciences and Experimental and Applied Science. The Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna includes the International Training Programme for Conflict Management (ITPCM), a post graduate programme with the aim of creating a structure able to respond to the training needs of personnel involved in international field operations. ITPCM has been more and more involved in promoting and implementing initiatives for nationals of those countries and regions prone to conflict and instabilities. The AIESEC Afghanistan is a student organization devoted to the promotion of the international mobility of students, the development of students potential and the integration of students in the working world. Although AIESEC operates in Afghanistan only since February 2005, it has already demonstrated a high level of competence and professionallity. AIESEC Afghanistan already gave its support in the organization of the first NATO - Afghan Students Forum. 35 students with University degrees and strong interests for the Afghan issue and Central Asia issues took part in this forum.

Orange team in action

International Training Programme for Conflict Management

Public Diplomacy Division

Imprint This Orange was made by a team of international young journalists from Sweden, Moldova, Poland, Italy, Germany and Belgium at the second Nato Afghan Forum in Pisa September 2007. All articles do not necessarily represent the opinions of the magazine. Editorial staff: Orange Magazine European Youth Press, rue de la tourelle 23 Brussels, Belgium Editor in chief : Anna Siitam, a.siitam@youthpress.org AD: Dumitru Iovu, d.iovu@youthpress.org Editorial Staff: Sophie Bleich, Yannick Brusselmans, Nils Spreen, Honorata Zapanik Photos by: Jakub Gornicki and NATO Also have a look at: www.orangelog.eu


I take home from this event … Quraishi Rahmattulah, Afghanistan

Kristina Prismantaite, Lithuania Renata Skardziute, Lithuania

…the knowledge of a better understanding of the Afghan culture and their daily life.

…a very good message to the Afghan people, a message of warm welcome.

…contacts from many countries. Visions about Afghanistan, the NATOs and other actors presence. Otabek Umarov, Uzbekistan Georgi Mladenov, Bulgaria

Peter Struckel, Slovakia …experience, knowledge, questions, a lot of questions, more than I brought… and some answers.

Danyiar Usenov, Kyrgyztan

…a lot of news from Afghanistan and Central Asia and I made some new friends.

…the exchance of different ideas and discussions on Afghanistan. Now I know the desire of Afghan people.

…a great experience of building bridges between countries in Central Asia, Europe and Afghanistan.

Asdullah Mauj, Afghanistan … my impression that NATO are not invadors, they can actually help us.

Khalida Nasir, Afghanistan

Bahadur Hellali, Afghanistan

… the good feeling of knowing that the international community still cares about us in Afghanistan.

… interesting views from other participants which will finally lead to great achievements. Vitalija Kolisova, Lithuania … good ideas for my bachelor paper, a lot of pleasant memories and useful knowledge about conflict resolution and crisis management.

Alexander Karvai, Slovakia Talant Turdaliev, Kyrgyztan Samuil Lozanov, Bulgaria … a lot of knowledge about diplomacy and politics and the great opportunity to meet other young people, who will maybe some day be my colleagues.

… fascinating information about Afghanistan I had never heard of before, a lot of new friends and nice impressions of beautiful Italy.

… I thought the Afghan students would be extremely conservative, strict Muslims, but now I know that’s not true at all. They’re very cool people.

Nelly Dineva, Bulgaria

Assel Ismakhanbetova, Kazakhstan … information about Afghanistan and many new friends. Only positive impressions!

Takhmina Kodirova, Tajikistan …a lot of interesting information about the Afghanistan situation. They are our neighbors and it is very important to know what problems they have.

Sara Durani, Afghanistan … I will inform about other peoples‘ perceptions.

Francesco Olmastroni, Italy … An amazing experience! The exchange of ideas and information.

Katarina Babalova, Slovakia … Contacts, discussions, information a long with a real authentic experience!

…I had opportunity to communicate with people from Afghanistan, who know exactly what the situation is like there. I am European and too far away.

Jamila Ayobi, Afghanistan … I will tell my relatives and family that NATO really wants to bring peace to the country. It was important for me to meet people here who want to share ideas for the future of Afghanistan. It could be possible to make some something together.

Maiwad Amal … A lot of things, a lot of souvenirs along with deeper understanding for NATO and a bigger network.

NATO Afghan Forum  

NATO Afghan Forum

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you