Want to join me in making a difference? Afghan Academy is raising money that will in turn benefit the local Afghan community and any donation will help make an impact!
Afghan Academy is the one of the oldest non-profits in the United States who’s sole purpose is to serve the Afghan community. Established in 1992, Afghan Academy founded Mustafa Center (Masjid), Baghe Furdous (funeral ground), Afghan Academy School, hosted multiple cultural events for the DMV community, and recently, established a professional network for the youth called Afghan Academy Professionals' Network (AAPN).
Afghan Academy’s mission is to:
1. Teach and disseminate religious, educational, cultural, and social values of Afghanistan to the new generation of local Afghan communities.
2. Provide support to scholars for their educational, cultural, and social research studies.
3. Expand relations between the Afghan community and other social and cultural organizations nationally and internationally.
4. Help our seniors, youth, and Afghan families in need.
We need your help to continue these activities for our community. The funds will be used to fulfill our mission as stated above in an effort to create a stronger community. This will pave the way for the future generations!
For more information, please visit www.AfghanAcademy.org.
Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause! Your support is greatly appreciated.
Afghan Academy launches Book Club
By Afzal Nasiri (former Editor of The Kabul Times)
Afghan Academy is actively involved in community affairs of Afghan Diaspora in USA. The Academy guides the Cemetery operations, Funeral Home construction, Academy run school, Mosque, library and more. The Academy sponsors cultural events, book signings of Afghan authors and hoard of other activities including Senior citizen recognition and entertainment.
In a unanimous decision recently, the Academy decided to launch an Afghan Book Club. Reading books is not very popular in Afghanistan. We do not publish many books and of course do not read many books. A Book Club may give younger and older generations to come together, choose a book of interest and the whole group first reads it and then meet at a common area and review the book through academic and intelligent discussion. Of course, there will be different views; and all the views can be combined and published as a Book Review on the Academy website, Social media and displayed on friendly websites.
Once the Book Club takes off there can be prizes, compensations and accolades to be offered to the readers. This may create an awareness among the community members and encourage the younger generation to read books and build knowledge; knowledge is power. I grew up reading some very popular children’s books like Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, Arabian Nights (one thousand and one nights) and of course Shakespeare’s plays.
Nations who read books and publish books are those leading the world. Surprisingly enough China is the leading book publisher (440,000) and Book reader. This is followed by US (305,000; UK 184,000, Germany 83,000, Italy 62,000).
Then it is Russia (120,000,) and India (90,000). Please note that Canada with 30 million population and Australia with 32, million publish 20,000 and 30,000 books per year. The voracious readers are from India, China and Thailand. Afghanistan’s population is close 30 million.
Afghanistan is ranked almost last among 130 countries surveyed by UNESCO in 2015. Egypt 9,000, Nigeria 1500 and Afghanistan under 1000 per year.
Reading books and discourse based on them gives way to intellectual curiosity. You put your brain to work. Most researchers and scientists read thousands of books in their life time. Afghanistan also had its share of book readers. But too few and far between. Names like Khalilullah Khalili, famous Poet Laureate of Afghanistan, Dr. Anus Khan, an Afghan Intellectual, former Minister of Information and Culture and Abdur Rahman Pazhwak, a versatile diplomat and Afghan Envoy at the UN and Ambassador in India in 1970s, come to mind.
I knew Ustad Khalili personally, he used to say that at a very young age he fell in love reading books. No matter what the contents were. During his childhood, when times were hard, He would read under the street light or a small kerosene lantern. Dr. Anus Khan was famous for reading books till late at night. He was very frugal. Thus, he would have no heat in the house. He would go under a blanket and bring in a small voltage light bulb under it and would read books all night, killing two birds with one stone.
Abdur Rahman Pazhwak was also a voracious reader and a fine diplomat. During his tenure as Afghan envoy to the United Nations his name was once tossed in the hat for the position of UN General Secretary. He did preside at the UN General Assembly. I had the honor of meeting him in New Delhi when he was Ambassador there. He showed me his collection of books from Indian authors. All in English. He said he never goes to bed without reading from a good book.
Starting Book Clubs in Afghanistan can take off like the “thousand Points of Light” phrase coined by George Bush senior. He wanted to maximize volunteerism in the USA. In Afghanistan the thousand points of light can be the starting of Book Clubs in every state and city. This will help in mass education of the Afghan population in Afghanistan and overseas.