By Khalid Ramizy
A few days back, The Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO) has proudly celebrated its 11th anniversary serving the community through promoting and instilling libertarian and democratic values. The journey so far has been full of challenges and seemed to be impossible without having your backing. The AELSO team is genuinely grateful for that and I am writing this to express our gratitude for your great support and cooperation throughout the last 11 years and with the hope of having your supports in the future as well.
Despite facing various challenges such as the outbreak of the COVID19, worsening security challenges as well as increasing poverty in the country, the year 2020 was full of remarkable achievements for our team. Throughout this year, we successfully reached thousands of people in Afghanistan and provided them unique opportunities to learn, act and work for promoting liberty, peace, tolerance & prosperity, and contribute to ensuring a sense of sustainable peace in the country through utilizing their energy and capacity in a positive way.
We would like to share a few highlights of our achievements from 2020:
- The Silk Road Station which serves as a broadcasting wing for the AELSO in recording and broadcasting various programs for promoting the free society and democratic values in Afghanistan and all over the world have a huge number of listeners and so far our programs have been listened to by more than 650,000 individuals in Afghanistan as well as other regional countries mainly speaking Persian such as Iran & Tajikistan. Besides that, the station is also having cooperation with the four well-known national radio stations. The number of listeners, as well as the outreach of the Silk Road Station, has significantly increased during 2020 due to broadcasting more new programs with the unique approach.
- Our unique initiative “AELSO Academy” includes series of seminars, training, conferences, webinars, as well as radio & video programs with the aim of providing opportunities for promoting mutual acceptance and equipping the Afghan youths with libertarian ideas and motivating them to work for promoting these values in their respected communities, has successfully entered into its second phase in 2020. During its second phase, we applied distinguished policies in order to reach the youths from all over the country and equip them with peace, tolerance, prosperity, and other free society values. So far more than 8500 (Direct/Indirect) individuals from all over the country have been covered through events organized under this project and the number is increasing day by day.
- AELSO’s another distinctive initiative “Liberty Club” which also includes series of conferences, roundtable discussions, symposiums, discourses, producing and distributing brochures and posters for promoting democratic and free society values in the country, as well as writing a booklet, has been started during this year and we are proud to share that till the end of May 2021, the project will cover more than 5000 individuals mainly youths and university students, and will equip them with the soft powers to fight and oppose radicalism and extremism in the country.
- During this year, we have successfully organized a series of webinars and virtual summits in order to keep the pace for promoting peace and democratic values even during the outbreak of the pandemics. The webinars witnessed a huge number of attendees and were highly welcomed.
- The translation of the book “An introduction to Entrepreneurship, written by Eamonn Butler” into the Dari language has been started and soon will be completed.
- More than 20 round-tables, workshops, and views exchange programs have been successfully organized during this year for the better understanding of the free market, human rights, rule of law, good governance, and other free society values in Eight major provinces of Afghanistan including the capital Kabul, and have covered more than 2800 individuals mainly comprised of youths and university students.
- As the outcome of the National Youth Conference organized in Kabul, the booklet named “Youth Narratives for Peace” which includes youth’s ideas for ensuring sustainable peace in Afghanistan is almost complete and soon will be published by the AELSO. The unique point about the book is that it is a research-based booklet and the participants of this research are youths from all parts of the country.
- The 4th generation of the CDs containing “Ideas for Peace & Prosperity” has been enriched with the more new ideas and trends related to Peace & Prosperity, has been designed and its distribution will be started in the earliest future.
- During this year we kept supporting youth groups in more than 15 provinces of Afghanistan by providing them our intellectual resources in order to enable them to act independently for promoting libertarian and democratic values in their respected local communities.
- The book “Analyzing Factors of Extremism in Afghanistan” written by the AELSO will soon be completed and published. This will analyze the factors behind increasing extremist ideologies in the country and effective ways to tackle them as well as how the youths can contribute to this fight.
- During this year, we have successfully organized Youth Conferences in eight major provinces of Afghanistan including the capital Kabul with more than 300 participants mainly comprised of youths and university students, and having keynote speakers from different fields and organizations.
- Organizing National youth conference by the participation of Afghanistan’s youth representative from all 34 provinces in Kabul University with the cooperation of Kabul University, The White Assembly, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and Rana University,
- Organizing Nationwide Youth Summit for Peace & Prosperity in 28 provinces (at one time) of Afghanistan with having participants mainly comprised of youths and university students, is also a unique achievement related to this year.
- During this year, we signed various agreements with the Kabul, Bakhtar & Rana Universities as well as other prominent academic institutions in order to strengthen our efforts in promoting libertarian and democratic values in the country. We have been constantly working with these institutions in their capacity building as well as more enrichment of their research centers by providing our publications free of any cost.
- Our members and volunteers have been significantly increased during this year and we are excited to share that our volunteers and members are from every corner of the country. They are currently active and serving their communities under our supervision and are directly or indirectly contribute to our vision and mission.
- In order to thank the donors as well as our other supporters and appreciate our volunteers’ efforts, we celebrated the 11th anniversary of the establishment of the AELSO along with the Human Rights Day in a friendly environment with a number of high-ranking officials from the international organizations and our volunteers.
- During this year, we printed and distributed more than 2000 books written by famous writers and are considered authentic resources for liberty and democratic values.
- Happily, during this year, the number of our interns has been significantly increased to 880 who are currently serving in our Silk Road Station, AELSO Academy, Liberty Club, and other projects.
- One of the biggest achievements of the year 2020 is establishing National Youth Network for Peace (NYNP) with more than 1000 talented youths currently registered with us and are working for creating a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.
- During this year, we have tirelessly working with the Afghan Parliament to bring some required changes and modifications to the laws and regulations as well as new legislation in order to make legal space for free society values in the country.
- We are among the most influential think tanks of Afghanistan based on the survey conducted by the Pennsylvania University for two consecutive years 2018 & 2019. Link: most influential think tanks of Afghanistan!
- In the year 2020, the AELSO has been Awarded the Smith students outreach award for our efforts for promoting market economy, entrepreneurship, and free society values in Afghanistan for students.
- Despite the achievements mentioned above, there are various other valuable activities successfully completed by our professional and committed team for promoting market economy, rule of law, and other free society values, the details of which you can read in our annual report of 2020 in the coming weeks.
If you are willing to be part of this huge effort dedicated to making Afghanistan a peaceful and prosperous country, you can do that by donating to the lead libertarian think tank.
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Looking forward to having your support in promoting libertarian and democratic values in Afghanistan!
Wish you all a happy holiday and a happy new year!