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Omid is the Deputy CEO at ADIB-Afghan Development & Inspiration Bureau an organisation in Herat, Afghanistan, which promotes innovation and entrepreneurship for Afghanistan’s youth.

Omid’s “Voices for Peace” picture was taken after Afghanistan won the Champions of South Asian Football Federation cup.  A win which united the country in celebration and for a few hours created peace. But this joyful event would later be shattered and Afghanistan would feel the pain of conflict once more.  In this personal account Omid describes the pain of conflict and his motivation to help build peace in his country.

A short lived peace

Hooray! We are the champions of South Asian Football Federation cup, what a glory for a country who has never celebrated any accomplishment in the past years. On Thursday 12th September the whole country was celebrating and everyone had peace of mind and was happy. I saw old guys dancing in the street, girls, boys, children, mothers and fathers everyone was joyful.

No political event has ever gathered a crowd like that in the street; with the different ethnics groups of Afghanistan coming together and celebrating. I had never seen such happy faces and it did not matter whether you where Pashto, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbak or any other.

Celebrations however were short lived because insurgents early the next day targeted Herat and I lost a dear friend in a senseless attack on the US-Consulate.  And my morning became filled with the sight of children and families injured and the sound of screams.

It was so sad because just before the attack everyone was forgetting about the conflict, but this attack bought us back to reality, reminding us that this country is still in war and that once again we will have to worry about whether they will return home alive.

Peace is hard but not impossible

President Obama, in his 2011 Peace Day speech to the UN General Assembly repeated throughout his talk: “Peace is hard. Peace is hard.” And yes peace is hard when we try to get it through the tough heads of our world leaders! But I believe peace is achievable when we start working with the children of our world, who see the world with a baggage-free lens, complete with optimism, open-mindedness, fresh ideas, and without limits.

Peace in Afghanistan is hard; but I believe that we should be working more with the youth and children of this nation because they are the peace makers of this country, who can change the future of Afghanistan. We can begin this mission by working with sports to show our youth the great feeling of achievement.  As we have seen from our county’s success in football which has given the people of Afghanistan hope for the future and added optimism in the youth’s mind.

Sustainability in Afghanistan is hard but nothing is impossible even Mission Impossible 3 was Possible! Therefore by helping youths develop their ideas we will be creating a space for peace while we should also be supporting the students of our country to enable them to set up their own businesses after graduation.

Coming from a country like Afghanistan, I have seen many different roads to success and failure, while there are some successful entrepreneurs throughout the country, decades of civil war and strife have made the business climate not ideal for innovation.  A consistent lack of new ideas has led to stagnation in a land where there is actually plenty of opportunity.

One key challenge facing Afghanistan is an educated class of students that is uncertain how to proceed in an unstable climate.  Every year, thousands of bright students graduate from Afghanistan’s top universities with excellent degrees but enter a job market this is filled with uncertainty. Some of these graduates have difficulty finding employment, while others have ideas but are unsure of how to execute.

This is why I am the co-founded of ADIB because it is our goal to promote innovation and entrepreneurship for Afghanistan’s youth, those who will help build the development and peace of this country through their innovation.

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