Empowering Afghans: Reframing the Narrative and Providing Support

December 6th, 2021
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MPAC partnered with the Afghan-American Foundation (AAF) to host a four-day virtual summit, Empowering Afghans: Reframing the Narrative and Providing Support. The summit, featuring Afghan leaders, discussed key issues related to the crisis in Afghanistan and its impact on the United States. Our hope was to identify tangible solutions and highlight organizations doing critical response work in the United States and Afghanistan.

Day 1 – Moment to Act: The Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

Even before the coalition withdrawal in August 2021, Afghanistan was enduring a drought, ongoing conflict, political instability, and a pandemic. The events of the last several months have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities and created a brand new crisis in the form of an economic collapse. Afghanistan is now facing one of the most pressing and avoidable humanitarian disasters of our time. This panel sought to discuss conditions on the ground, highlight channels for relief and aid that are proving effective, and explore how the world can and should act.

Day 2 – Resettlement Challenges & Opportunities: Afghan American Perspectives

As Afghan families are resettled in local communities across the country, Afghan American-led organizations and groups are working to provide comprehensive support and fill in gaps. We heard from Afghan American community leaders doing this work, what they’re seeing on the ground, and the challenges and opportunities in resettlement and integration of Afghans to ensure these newly arriving families have every chance to thrive in their new home.

Day 3 – Foreign Policy and Domestic Pragmatism: The Road Ahead

The role of US Foreign Policy in the current situation in Afghanistan is complex and spans decades. This expert panel sought to discuss the path that led to the current crisis but also explore what options and realities lie ahead from a policy perspective for the United States and for other stakeholders regionally and globally, including the Taliban who have assumed de facto control over Afghanistan.

Day 4 – The Challenges and Opportunities around Building Afghan and Afghan American Narratives

Afghans and Afghan-Americans once again find themselves at an inflection point. One of the factors that could help pave the road ahead of them is the narrative that is shaped and curated about their history, their experiences, and their identities. This panel discussed the various ways in which narratives develop, the forces that drive them, and ways in which Afghans, Afghan-Americans, and their allies must engage to ensure a focus this work is done responsibly and without causing further harm.

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