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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

As the war in Afghanistan approaches its tenth year, women and girls worry that the peace they want will come at the price of the few freedoms they have gained since the Taliban was overthrown in 2001. From school closures to increased threats against working women, the rights women want seem to be slipping away. Read more about the difficult situations women are facing in Afghanistan in this article from the New York Times.

This month the Council will present two programs about strong women who are working to empower women. On August 11, the Asia Foundation will co-sponsor a program with Samar Minallah, the Asia Foundation Chang Lin Tien Visiting Fellow at the Global Fund for Women and the founder of Ethnomedia. Minallah is an anthropologist, writer, human rights activist and one of Pakistan’s few documentary filmmakers. She will share excerpts from her documentaries and discuss using video as an advocacy tool for women’s rights in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Asha Hagi, the co-founder and chairperson of Save Somali Women and Children, will speak on August 27 in a co-sponsored program at the Commonwealth Club. Hagi will describe the innovative creation of a women’s network, The Sixth Clan, to facilitate full participation in national politics and the peace process.

To register for either program, please visit the Council’s online calendar.

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Last Thursday’s guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jere Van Dyk,  will be at the Council on Wednesday, July 14. He is a journalist and author who is currently a consultant on Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaeda for CBS News. In 2008, Van Dyk was captured and imprisoned by the Taliban along the boarder between Afghanistan and Pakistan. His new book, Captive: My Time as a Prisoner of the Taliban, chronicles this experience.

To register for the event, visit the Council website. Watch Van Dyk’s Daily Show appearance below.

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Jere Van Dyk, posted with vodpod
Van Dyk was also featured on NPR’s Talk of the Nation last week. Listen to the story here.

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Tuesday evening, journalist and author of the new book To Live or to Perish Forever, Nicholas Schmidle joined the Council and Marines’ Memorial Association to discuss his experience in Pakistan. During a period when President Pervez Musharraf’s power was waning, and the Taliban’s was growing, Schmidle lived and reported in the country for nearly two years, covering this very turbulent period of Pakistan’s recent history. The son of a high-ranking US military officer, the experience provided him the opportunity to speak with countless government officials and regular Pakistanis, including very uncomfortable meetings with high-ranking members of militant groups and the Taliban. Find the full program recordings at our online archive.

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Having returned from Islamabad only a month ago, Asia Foundation expert Jon Summers shared some of his knowledge and insights into the current situation in Pakistan with Council members last night. He laid out myriad challenges facing Pakistan, from governance and counterinsurgency to the economy and education, and he suggested potential strategies to deal with some of these issues. Despite the predominance of US media reports of violence and insurgency in the country, Summers noted that Pakistan indeed possesses many assets, from a strong human resource base to vibrant civil society.

For more on Pakistan, watch or listen to the recording of last night’s program with Jon Summers, or check out a couple of the articles and studies mentioned in the lecture (links below).

In Refugee Aid, Pakistan’s War Has New Front
A July 2nd New York Times article on the two million displaced people in Pakistani refugee camps and the fight between the United States and hard-line Islamist charities for their allegiance.

Power Dynamics, Institutional Instability and Economic Growth: The Case of Pakistan
A study, supported by The Asia Foundation, which analyzes economic development in Pakistan in the context of power and institutions in the country. It examines the causes of continuing development challenges, and it identifies seven strategic “Drivers of Change” that could address these root causes for a major impact on development in Pakistan.

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David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent for The New York Times, drew a large and attentive audience to our auditorium last night for his lecture, “The World Obama Confronts.” Although accounts of the Iraq War often focus on its direct costs, Sanger, in his lecture and recently published first book, The Inheritance, explores the depth of the potentially greater opportunity costs. He argues that many challenges Obama currently faces stem from imminent threats in Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran that had been ignored by the previous administration while fighting the War in Iraq. The award-winning veteran reporter provides extensive knowledge of the “costs of distraction” inherited from the previous administration that Obama is now only beginning to confront, as well insight into current issues including the Iranian elections, North Korea’s nuclear test, and challenges in the newspaper and publishing industries.

To learn more about the challenges Obama faces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran, listen to the full program here.

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As violence and tension rises among Islamic militant groups and the Taliban, award-winning author, scholar of religions, and columnist for The Daily Beast, Reza Aslan, joined the World Affairs Council for a discussion on his new book How to Win a Cosmic War.  Examining the worldview of Muslim militant groups and the previous administration’s approach to the War on Terror, Aslan offered evidence that we are currently in the midst of an ideologically-charged religious war.  You can watch or listen to the full program with his insights and recommendations for the Obama administration here.

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Pakistan released nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan on Friday – the former head of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, and a man who has admitted to transferring nuclear secrets to other countries. According to a BBC article, the US continues to regard Dr. Khan as a “serious proliferation risk.”

Here at the Council, we recently hosted writers Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz, formerly of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, as they detailed the sequence of events that allowed one man to lay the groundwork for Pakistan to become a nuclear-armed country. According to their book, The Nuclear Jihadist, the acquisition of nuclear technologies and expertise to assemble functioning bombs by Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Pakistan, can be traced to one source: Abdul Qadeer Khan. From his earliest days working in a Dutch research laboratory through his flight to Pakistan to spearhead its nuclear program, US and foreign intelligence authorities watched A.Q. Khan and could have stopped him from smuggling technology and blueprints to other countries, but were thwarted or ignored by political leaders who chose to concentrate on what they believed to be more immediate strategic priorities.  Watch the full program below, or click here to skip to different chapters.

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