A Country in Conflict; Afghan Student Visits Ursinus

A personal account of life on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan was offered to students during a visit by Samea Shanori, an Afghan student in her senior year at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.Students in two Ursinus international relations classes last week heard Shanori speak about  human rights issues and the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asian countries. She also addressed women’s rights in those regions, said Shanori, 21. “Since I intern with the Afghan Mission to the United Nations, in the UN model class I talked about my responsibilities with my internship and the committees I work with. I also covered security and threat of Taliban in Afghanistan.”

Shanori was invited to speak by Professor Joe Melrose, former Ambassador to Sierra Leone and at the UN.  He is now Professor of International Relations at Ursinus. “I was Ambassador Melrose’s student in his Development of the United Nations System class at Bard College’s Globalization and International Affairs Program in New York.”

Studying in the U.S. as part of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs (BGIA) program in New York City, through the Bard College and the AUCA partnership, Shanori has interned with New York University Center for Dialogues: Islamic World-US-the West and is an intern with the Afghan Mission to the United Nations. She also interns with Global Voices Online, an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world. She reports on issues relating to Afghanistan.

“Samea Shanori’s visit to Ursinus campus gave our students the opportunity to talk to a young woman their own age and also in college who spent her pre-college years living in Kabul and along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Ambassador Melrose.

Shanori lived in Peshawar, Pakistan for more than ten years during the civil war and Taliban regime and moved to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2004 and stayed there until 2007. In 2008 she worked with USAID in Afghanistan. She started studying at the American University of Central Asia and has been living in New York City since 2013.

“Students at Ursinus were really polite, nice and smart,” said Shanori. “Their questions and comments showed their curiosity about countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and central Asian countries. I was really impressed to see how students were involved and aware of the human rights’ situation in these countries.”

As far as her own hopes for Afghanistan and its future Shanori said she wants stability, security and prosperity for Afghans and Afghanistan. “However, taking into consideration the current issues in Afghanistan, my hopes for my country will not come to reality for another decade, at least. Next year will be a challenging year for Afghanistan since the security of the country will be completely transferred to the government of Afghanistan and presidential elections will be held. If my country successfully handles these two important issues, other problems will be solved as time passes.”