Jul 29, 2010

U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan by Mariam A. Nawabi

Yesterday, Wednesday evening, July 28, American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) hosted Mariam Atash Nawabi, in a presentation program entitled "US-Afghan Relations: Understanding the Foreign Assistance Process". Not so many students, though, attended the presentation. I believe this is partly due to the general policies of the university, particularly its security policy. I am not totally blaming the university administration because they might be right in observing such tight security measures, however, it is probably not appropriate for an academic environment, and it would have its negative effects as it is observed.

The presentation program, delivered by Mariam A. Nawabi, was about the "U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan": the funding process, the relevant U.S. agencies in this process, a bit about in what areas the U.S. has assisted Afghanistan, and the most interesting part was about the personal experiences Nawabi has had in promoting investment in Afghanistan and social entrepreneurship. I was specially amazed by the comprehensive knowledge of this charming lady in a vast number of areas relating to international assistance to Afghanistan. You can just go to this link and read about her. You can also google her name and find a lot about her. You'll be amazed too...

Finally, I must say that for me, who works as Grants Officer at The Asia Foundation, one of the largest organizations bringing international assistance to Afghanistan, this program was indeed fruitful and had a lot to know. At the end of the presentation, although I was very tired, I was not unhappy for attending the event.

Jul 26, 2010

The translation stopped

My request for translation of the "Democratization and Civil War" was rejected by the publisher of the book, within which the paper is to be published. Because, they are "unable to grant permission for [me] to translate and publish this material into a [...] magazine until the book has been published." OK, fine. I am not complaining because this is the right way. But I am unhappy because, by its translation, I would be pleased to share an interesting work with others.

Jul 17, 2010

Summer is for Reading!

I agree, and I read in summers. I read all the books that I wish to read. I keep these wishes until I get the chance, when I am free from university coursework and the reading assignments that I am forced to read, not because I like them. Of course, I don't hate my courses and studies at AUAF, but just I don't like to be assigned to do something. I know it might sound a bit weired. I used to self-study music, nights and days, tirelessly. But, as soon as I started studying music a little a bit more formally, I stopped passionately reading and working music as before! For example, if I were instructed to work on an etude, I hated it, and very unwillingly worked on it.

I am reading, these days, a book by Eric Burns about the thoughts of Michel Foucault, the French philosopher. It’s hard, but I like it.

The translation of “Democratization and Civil War” is in progress. To be honest, I am not fast when I am working on a translation. So, I would not be surprised if it takes a month or so to finish it.

Jul 8, 2010

To be away for a while

Today, I will take my final exam of the summer semester. This is practically the last day of 2009-2010 academic year. I am tired, very tired. I feel I need a break, though I know I won't be given it!

I started the year very energetically. However, by all the things that happened to me during the Fall Semester, I went under a depression; the results of which are still felt. I don't want to open any of those now. They were experiences by themselves. I learned a lot from them. Thus, I can't say they were quite bitter. Even I would probably repeat some of them if I were given the chance, with the knowledge of the consequences; however, would not my perspective be different?

It didn't affect, nevertheless, my academic performance but rather affected my socialization. I started the attendance at AUAF with an attitude just like a person who wants to love the world, a person who wants make friend with anyone, who wants to take part in any social activity. Thus, I started or joined four student clubs (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) at the same time, while I had a full-time job. I quited all, one by one.

I believe I need a break to rest, and to be away, for a while, from... I don't know.

Jul 5, 2010

I am a foreigner!

I was a foreigner, when I was born in a land, which was not my motherland. I grew up a foreigner, playing, sitting, laughing, going to school with friends among whom my language, my attitude, my appearance seemed like a foreigner.

I am back to my so-called "motherland". But, this land is not my motherland either. I am still a foreigner. Today, when I visited an organization for assessment, I was looked like a foreigner. Even, I was directly asked where I was from and this that I looked like a foreigner.

The problem, though, is not that I merely looked like a foreigner, but it's deeper: I am indeed a foreigner. This is not my appearance or my accent or my Chinese-like face which makes me separated or distinguished from others. But these are my thoughts, opinions, behavior, perspective... There are huge differences. I feel it and I see it in my daily life that I am a foreigner. Where is my motherland?

Jul 4, 2010

"Oh my God! You're too old!"

There are two options here: first, I must finish BA as fast as possible; second, I must finish BA as best as possible.

To be honest, I am getting old, or I am already old. So, it's a bit frustrating for me to see myself still studying BA. When I look around campus, I find myself among some fellows who are even ten years younger than me! They are too young. Their thoughts, behaviors, attitudes... not of course unsophisticated, but just younger, or maybe more energetic than me, to better describe them. Or maybe, I am older than them, not they, younger than me! "Oh my God! You're too old!" Once one said to me this. Actually, I didn't understand how old I was before I heard such a comment! This is a truth, I am getting old, and I have to finish BA as fast as possible. But wait, what will be the benefit of having a BA with a 1.5 GPA?!

Jul 3, 2010

A translation project

No, no, I can't say I like this condition of not-writing-anything, not-saying-anything, nor I want to stay in it. I am not even so much "busy" (as it is said, while talking of our idleness). Just, I am passing across a condition, like crossing a highway, in which I have to be worried about everything and anything; while, even I don't know what things need to be worried about!

A couple of weeks ago, I found a very interesting research study, titled "Democratization and Civil War" by Prof. Edward Mansfield from University of Pennsylvania and Prof. Jack Snyder from University of Columbia. After reading it, I decided to translate the paper. I sent an email to Prof. Mansfield and sought the last version of the paper, while seeking permission for the translation. A couple of days later, I gottwo emails from the authors saying "[... they] are happy to have [me] translate the paper [...]

I am going to finish the summer semester within a week. I will translate the paper during the break till the fall semester begins.