According to SOLA’s website, their organizational goal is to prepare the very best Afghan students for study in the U.S. and elsewhere so that they may return home to become future leaders of Afghanistan. To this end, SOLA has partnered with Pax Populi in both its Pax Populi Educational Outreach program through which Shogofa came to study at Salem State University beginning in September 2010 and in the Pax Populi English Tutoring program, in which English language tutors in various locations have provided language training to SOLA students in the context of developing deeper intercultural understanding, respect, and friendship.
Ted Achilles arrived in Afghanistan on February 14, 2003 and began a for-profit, freight forwarding company that he turned over to two Afghan brothers in December 2007. From May 2004 to June 2008 he was the Country Director of American Councils for International Education for the YES (Youth Exchange and Study) program. Then, in 2008, Ted founded SOLA. Participants in programs managed by Ted have gone on to study at Bard, Bates, Beloit, Bennington, Colorado, Cornell, Holy Cross, Houston Honors, Meredith, Middlebury, Mt. Holyoke, Nagoya, Richmond, Salem State, St. Lawrence, Sweet Briar, Tufts, Wellesley, Williams, and Yale, among others.
In presenting the Pax Populi Peacemaker Award to Achilles, Applied Ethics/Pax Populi founder and leader Robert E. McNulty, PhD noted that Achilles demonstrated enormous courage, kindness, and a commitment to peace by providing so many Afghans students with both educational training as well as placement services in some of America’s finest secondary schools and universities. In so doing, SOLA supports what is held by Pax Populi to be one of the three essential pillars of civil society: education.
Engraved on the award given to Mr. Achilles appears the following simple acknowledgement:
“The Pax Populi Peacemaker Award To Ted Achilles, Founder and Director of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA), 30 April 2011, Through your tremendous courage and kindness you are helping to create a more peaceful world.”
Congratulations, Mr. Achilles! We are in awe of you and SOLA. We are witnesses to the many lives that have been transformed through you and the wonderful people at SOLA, both in Afghanistan and the United States. Those of us associated with Pax Populi are honored to have this opportunity to recognize the extraordinary work you are doing, the greatness of which is found not simply in the actions themselves, but the love, generosity, and goodness from which they spring. May the spirit of peacemaking that pervades your work be blessed and continue to flourish always.