Three days ago Shogofa was given her visa to come to America to advance her education. We encountered many challenges and some setbacks, but in the end, our Pax Populi Educational Outreach succeeded in crossing an important milestone. Shogofa should be coming to America during the first week of September; rather than Marblehead High School, she will attend Salem State University. What follows are some highlights of a few relevant events and some reflections thereon.
Through the good offices of the Center for International Education at Salem State, Shogofa was conferred “conditional undergraduate admissions.” This means that she will begin in an ESL program and after she demonstrates sufficient English language proficiency, she will transition into the University’s undergraduate program.
We are very grateful to many individuals and organizations whose help was indispensible in making this possible. Let me list a few:
• The board of directors of Applied Ethics, Inc. was crucial in so many respects, especially in fundraising
• The administrators at the Center for International Education were incredibly welcoming, responsive, and helpful
• The School of Leadership, Afghanistan made everything possible and its leader, Ted Achilles, should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
• We found a host family who we believe will provide an exceptional home environment, graced with kindness, generosity, and cultural sensitivity
• Many people contributed funds, some very large amounts, others $10… every donation was deeply appreciated as a step toward success
• Shogofa is an exceptional young lady that made this outcome all but assured
When the time for the application was due, our fundraising efforts had fallen short. One person, who already made a very generous donation, stepped into the gap and provided a short term loan. We have pledged to continue our fundraising efforts so as to pay off our loan as soon as possible.
In the end, our efforts was successful and the stage is now set for the next act.
There are foreign students coming to America every day, quite a few of them from Afghanistan. What we’ve accomplished in some ways could be seen as a very small step of no particular significance. I don’t see it that way. That Shogofa has been given this opportunity to study in the United States has been an expression of the collective goodwill of very many who supported the Pax Populi idea of people-to-people peacemaking. We have formed a team, brought together by the belief that by helping one person, we can help in a small but important way advance peace. This has been Pax Populi in action… a public demonstration that we — acting as individuals and as part of an extended community — can do something to support the good people of Afghanistan, who ultimately will need to take the steps to bring peace to their own country. Already there are quite a few in Afghanistan who have learned of this act. They are seeing a side of America they might not have otherwise seen and, perhaps, in the process some are seeing the possibility of a better future for their country.
We, the supporters of peace — the growing network of Pax Populites — cannot create a peace for Afghanistan. It will be the Afghans who bring peace to their own country. But they can’t do it alone. Peace will come through the collective efforts of a global partnership of people united in a shared commitment to goodness. Helping to build this global partnership of peacemakers is the mission of Pax Populi.
We have taken a small step in a long journey. Working together, we will grow in strength and number and, with help from above, we will succeed in making this a more peaceful world.