Afghan Miniatures of 15th -18th Centuries

AUAF with cooperation of AIAS organized the program entitled “Afghan Miniatures of 15th -18th Centuries” by Dr. Michael Alexander Barry on 13 June, 2017.

Dr. Barry is lecturer in Princeton’s Near Eastern Studies Department since 2004 on the medieval and modern Islamic cultures of Iran, India, Pakistan, and most especially Afghanistan.

This lecture was an Illustration of the amazing art that was created in this Afghanistan between the 15th to 18Th centuries; many of the miniatures exhibited are known in foreign museums either the arts of Iran or India very rarely connected to the people who actually made these arts in Afghanistan. It was a little journey to the most beautiful miniatures created in Herat and Kabul between the ages of Timurid Sultans of Heart and their family members who became the kings of Kabul, whose reign then expanded to India.

Afghanistan Annual Lecture Series

The American Institute of Afghanistan Studies launched the inaugural Annual Lecture on Afghanistan in April of 2017. One of the few female combat journalists to cover Afghanistan and Pakistan, Christina Lamb spoke about the human costs of political failure in America’s longest war in her presentation titled, “From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World.” She draws on her experience as the Chief Foreign Correspondent for the UK Sunday Times and a best-selling author, to depict the impacts of war on Afghanistan’s people and society.

A Non-Anthropologist Looks at Tribes

AIAS and RANA university hosted a presentation by Michael W. Albin on 15 January, 2017.

This highly original and entertaining book spotlights the tribal leader from Biblical times to the present day, and from Morocco to Afghanistan. It strips away layers of romantic myth and misconception about tribal society, the fundamental building block of Middle Eastern culture. Yes, of course shaykhs were desert bandits, maritime pirates, and unruly subjects of sultans and dictators. But they are also diplomats, peacemakers, and businessmen. At their best they place the interests of their people above all else. At worst, they can be notorious leaders.

Chapters cover the defining moral foundations of tribal order: honor and equality; who is and who is not a shaykh; application of the tribal code in war and peace; administration of the code in everyday life; and the environmental, economic, and political changes that threaten stability and the very existence of each tribe. An analytical postscript tracks the shaykh as he struggles to rescue the tribal way of life in today’s Middle East cauldron of violence and instability. There are explanatory footnotes, maps, illustrations, glossary of terms, a bibliographic essay, and an index.

Michael W. Albin draws on a lifetime of academic and practical research and study at the Library of Congress (1975-2004) which included assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey. From 2007-2011.

Pre-Orientation Meeting: Afghanistan Pakistan Partnership Summit: Workable Solutions for the New Era

AIAS, The Hollings Center for international dialogue, and the US embassy in Kabul arranged a per-orientation meeting named Afghanistan-Pakistan partnership summit on 29 November, 2016.

This meeting included discussion about:

Opportunities for cooperation and partnership between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There are many opportunities that exist for cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. What is happening on the cooperation side? What is working? What are some local opportunities? What larger regional integration opportunities could result from increased cooperation with Pakistan? How can these opportunities be realized in the current environment? What national and international policy reforms are needed to enhance synergies?

Barriers to cooperation and partnership between Afghanistan and Pakistan
How can barriers to cooperation be overcome? What are some major barriers to cooperation with Pakistan? How have these barriers affected dynamics between Afghanistan and Pakistan? What governance issues exist? What strategies, policies and measures role can government, businesses and civil society play to overcome barriers?

As a conclusion all the participants gave their recommendations and specified the outcome of the meeting.


Afghanistan’s Traditional Arts After Years of Conflict

Please join us on Wednesday, October 19th at 5:30 pm for a lecture regarding “Afghanistan’s Traditional Arts After Years of Conflict” presented by Professor Ann W. Norton of Providence College. The lecture will be held at 725 Commonwealth Ave, room 303A with a reception to follow.


Seeking stability in Afghanistan

AIAS and RANA university hosted a presentation by Dr. Thomas Barfield on 15 August, 2016. The presentation was entitled ” seeking stability in Afghanistan”.

The 2004 Afghan constitution creates a highly centralized government in a land that is characterized by its diversity. One aspect of this diversity is the wide number of qawms (tribal or ethnic groups) by which people identifies themselves. While it has been argued that only a highly centralized government can prevent disorder from arising because of these divisions, in fact it may create more problems than it solves. This lecture will focus on how a more decentralized system of government may well be more stable because it would allow for a broader base of participation in governance. It will also focus attention upon the fact that although Afghanistan has ethnic divisions, it has never developed varieties of ethnic nationalism that seek to break up the state.

Dr. Thomas Barfield’s current research focuses on problems of political development in Afghanistan, particularly on systems of local governance and dispute resolution. He has also published extensively on contemporary and historic nomadic pastoral societies in Eurasia with a particular emphasis on politics and economy.

Dr. Barfield conducted ethnographic fieldwork in northern Afghanistan in the mid-1970s as well as shorter periods of research in Xinjiang, China, and post-Soviet Uzbekistan. He is author of The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan (1981), The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China (1989), and The Nomadic Alternative (1993), co-author of Afghanistan: An Atlas of Indigenous Domestic Architecture (1991), and editor of Blackwell’s Dictionary of Anthropology (1997). Barfield received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 that led to the publication of his newest book, Afghanistan: A Political and Cultural History. He is also chairman of anthropology department of Boston University and president of the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies.

Epistemology of ‘State’ in Afghanistan: Beyond Modernism

AIAS hosted a talk by Dr. Jawanshir Rasekh on 12 July, 2016.

Epistemology on the philosophical knowledge of history is the manner of learning and studying of an historical phenomenon or narrative. The Epistemology of “Governance” in contemporary history of Afghanistan is the state of manners hypothesis, definitions and perceptions that, historian, anthropologist and politicians use to frame the nature and formed the type of government.

The Epistemology of ‘State’ in Afghanistan: Beyond Modernism is a part of doctoral teases and it would be the review of the manners on the intellectual history and Theory of Formation the governance in the study of Afghanistan.

networking event at the AIAS

AIAS had a networking event with the Afghan students who were studying in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and United States on 11 July, 2016.

These students who got their scholarships from the US embassy, Afghanistan shared their experiences from two different countries, different people, and different environments that they were studying. Also they discussed the opportunities they got while studying in Bishkek, and US, and what changes can be implemented in education system of Afghanistan, in order to make it a more useful education system.

Fulbright alumni gathering event

AIAS organized an event for the Fulbright alumni on 19 April, 2016.

In this event Fulbright scholars discussed their experiences of studying in US, experiencing new cultures, ideas, people, opportunities that they got by studying in United States, and their commitments in using those experiences and knowledge in Afghanistan to be a part of the change Afghanistan needs.


A Muslim Archipelago: Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia.

AIAS hosted a talk by Dr. Gross on 7 March, 2016.

Dr Gross discussed the main themes of his book, “A Muslim Archipelago: Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia.” He addressed such questions as ‘Why is Indonesia which has a large Muslim majority (87 per cent) officially a secular (Pancasila) state, while Malaysia whose Muslim population (55-60 percent) is a smaller fraction of the whole describes itself officially as an Islamic State?’ And ‘how important is religion (Islam) in the insurgency movements in southern Thailand and the southern Philippines?’

Dr. Max L. Gross retired from the U.S. Federal Government in December 2005. Prior to his retirement, he was for eleven years Dean of a College in the Department of Defense. Before that, he was Professor of Middle Eastern studies at the same institution. He also served as a Research Specialist in Middle Eastern affairs in the Department of Defense.  Dr. Gross served as an officer in the United States Air Force, with three consecutive overseas assignments in Turkey, West Germany and South Vietnam.

Dr. Gross attended graduate school at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, where he obtained an MA degree in Middle East history in 1971.  He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East history at Georgetown University in 1979.

Dr. Gross is the author of a number of articles on Lebanon, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Syria and Islam.  In addition to his work in the Department of Defense, he also has served as adjunct lecturer at George Washington University, American University, Georgetown University and the University of Virginia, teaching courses on Islam, the International Relations of the Middle East, and the Arab-Israeli conflict and the History of the Middle East.  He also lectures several times each year at federal institutions in the Washington, DC area and around the country. He has completed a book on Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia and is working on a companion volume on Islam and Politics in South Asia. From 2011-14 Dr. Gross was Course Director for the Afghanistan Advanced Area Studies course at the Foreign Service Institute, helping to prepare U.S. diplomats to serve in Afghanistan.