Transforming the Landscape of Education in Afghanistan 

-Amy Friers (BA '11)The DIS opening ceremony. Amy Friers is pictured to the right of the bow in the green scarf. Akbar Quraishi is to her left

In October 2012, Akbar Quraishi (SU BA ‘09 and MA IR ‘11) and I opened Afghanistan’s first specialized International Relations University with the help of several of our Afghan friends and colleagues. Despite many difficulties with financing and government red tape, we have managed to have a successful first semester at Diplomacy and International Studies Institute of Higher Education (DIS). At DIS, we believe that it is crucial to build professional capacity in the fields of diplomacy, negotiations, governance, development and security studies so that young Afghans are prepared and have the necessary skills to take over as foreign presence is reduced in the coming years. We are struggling against the traditional strict lecture and memorization culture which has dominated the Afghan educational system for centuries. At our university, we focus on providing access to up to date information and teaching critical thinking skills to our students. In class, we encourage questioning, group work and open discussion to ensure that students are able to generate creative solutions to Afghanistan’s current and impending problems. DIS grants scholarships to female students and students from high conflict areas in an attempt to provide opportunities and to provide a more balanced voice in the Afghan government. We truly try to live up to our motto: transforming education, transforming Afghanistan.

For more information please see the DIS website at: www.dis.af or Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/ DISKabul.