Afghan Students Learn About African-American History

Posted by Bronwyn Jones
March 30, 2011
Students Participate in Black History Month Event in Kabul

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul sponsored a series of events celebrating Black History Month culminating in the Afghan Great Debaters event. The debate was organized by the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) and the debate clubs of Bakhtar, Kardan and Karwan Universities. The students debated whether the educational philosophies of W.E.B. DuBois or Booker T. Washington are more relevant to Afghanistan today. Alumni of the Youth Exchange Students program read their winning essays on the topic "Who is W.E.B DuBois?" and "Who is Booker T. Washington?" The final event for the month was the award ceremony for the debate teams and a jazz concert held in the atrium of the embassy, featuring the Afghanistan National Institute of Music's Jazz Ensemble led by Grammy Award winner Dr. Gene Aitken.

The IFES students were so impressed by the event that many sent thank you notes. I've quoted some of their reactions below:

"The debate event has refreshed our thoughts about the current situation and prospects for Afghanistan. As a debater, it gave us a phenomenal experience on how to debate in such situations. This event gave us energy to strive and struggle more as debaters in order to [reach] our future goal of becoming leaders and very good public speakers.""I think this kind of event will be an outstanding culture exchange between Afghans and Americans. In addition to social aspects, the event really shows the pure culture of Americans, it also indicates that all the Americans respect each nation and they really are united. I was thinking about Black Americans in the history of the U.S. and I could find that this is a huge change and of course very effective change in the culture of [white] Americans and Black Americans. I was excited at how beautiful it is that every American celebrates this month and heartily respects their nations."

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