Saturday, December 10, 2016

Students Represent Afghanistan at Model UN Conference

On Thursday, October 29 2015, H.E. Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, met with students from the Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver High School in Hartford, Connecticut at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations. This group of high school students were going to represent Afghanistan at the 63rd annual Model United Nations conference.

Students Represent Afghanistan at Model UN Conference

Students Represent Afghanistan at Model UN Conference

Welcoming the group to the Mission, Ambassador Saikal briefed them about the history, demography, geography, culture, and current situation of Afghanistan.

Ambassador Saikal remarked that the past 14 years in Afghanistan has shown much improvement due to the collective efforts of the Government of Afghanistan, the international community, and the NGO and donor partners.

However, he highlighted that Afghanistan still faces insecurity due to the brutal attacks of the Taliban and other foreign-backed terrorist groups.

Ambassador Saikal specifically focused on the work of the National Unity Government and the challenges faced by citizens today. The problem of unemployment, little access to water and other resources, easy access to illegal arms, as well as the general economy, whose improvement is evident, but slow are significant areas of concern for Afghanistan.

He expressed hope that positive developments in strengthening the rule of law, access to education, women’s issues, and health would continue to improve.

He finally detailed his role and responsibilities as Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, and the importance of improving Afghanistan´s relationships with the international community.

Ambassador Saikal’s address was followed by a question and answer session between the Ambassador and the students on a wide variety of issues.

New Ambassador presents credentials to Secretary General

Press Release
The new Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal, presented his credentials today to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, new Permanent Representative of the Mission of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations, presents credentials to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, new Permanent Representative of the Mission of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations, presents credentials to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Ambassador Saikal is a senior Afghan diplomat and international development specialist with over two decades of experience with governments, international organizations, private sector and civil society. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Saikal served as Special Representative and Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive of Afghanistan (2014-2015), Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan (2005-2006), Ambassador of Afghanistan to Australia and New Zealand (2002-2005), First Secretary and later Counselor Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tokyo (1993-1994).

Ambassador Saikal was instrumental in the negotiation of various agreements, including the 2014 agreement on the formation of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan, the  “Joint Declaration on Regional Peace and Stability” a track II initiative launched in Kabul in 2013, the “Afghanistan Compact” which was launched at the London International Conference on Afghanistan in 2006, as well as the 2006 Afghanistan-NATO Declaration, which set out the Framework for Enduring Cooperation in Partnership.

He was deeply involved in the promotion of regional cooperation, resulting in Afghanistan’s membership in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), strengthening Afghanistan’s membership in Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and formulation of the process of Regional Economic Cooperation Conferences on Afghanistan (RECCA).

Ambassador Saikal has a Master’s Degree in International Development from Deakin University of Melbourne, as well as two bachelor degrees from the University of Sydney and the University of Canberra. He graduated with First Class French Baccalaureate from Lycee Esteqlal of Kabul.

Born on 1 January 1962, Ambassador Saikal is married with two children.

Visit of H.E. Dilber Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs

H.E. Dilber Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs is in New York to participate in the N-Peace award ceremony, which is a multi country initiative managed by UNDP to further the women, peace and security agenda, and to promote broader conflict prevention and peace building work in Asia. She visited the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations on Oct 22 and addressed the staff of the Mission and the Consulate.

H.E. Dilber Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs visited the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations on Oct 22 and addressed the staff of the Mission and the Consulate.

H.E. Dilber Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs visited the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations on Oct 22 and addressed the staff of the Mission and the Consulate.

Speaking at length about the achievements of Afghan women in the past fourteen years, Minister Nazari gave special emphasis to the participation of women in the public sphere—she said how there have been significant changes in women’s participation in education, workforce, and political life. President Ashraf Ghani has promised seven ambassadorial level positions for women; currently four ministries and two governorships are held by women. The presence of women, though in small numbers, in senior administrative positions herald a new era of women’s empowerment in Afghanistan.

Minister Nazari spoke of the 100 day plan for her ministry which focused on increasing capacity for women’s institutions in urban as well as rural Afghanistan. A review of the ministry found that 80 positions were vacant, which were filled by recruiting the best talents in a competitive manner. Improving women’s access to justice and legal aid in case of duress was another significant facet of the 100 day plan. Developing strategies for implementation of a law prohibiting violence against women, which was recently approved by the cabinet, is also a priority for the Ministry.

H.E. Dilber Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs visited the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations on Oct 22 and addressed the staff of the Mission and the Consulate.

H.E. Dilber Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs visited the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations on Oct 22 and addressed the staff of the Mission and the Consulate.

Despite the significant progress in women’s empowerment and social status, multiple challenges persist for women in Afghanistan. Most of the development dividends and public participation is still concentrated in urban areas; life for rural Afghan women hasn’t changed much. Persistent security threats act as significant impediments to securing and strengthening women’s rights in the country. During the recent Taliban attack on Kunduz, Minister Nazari elaborated how she had to evacuate female staff and residents of women’s protection centers on a very short notice and under tremendous security challenges. She mentioned that Kunduz is safe and secure now; about 8,000 families have returned and the city is slowly getting back to normal life. She also spoke about the need for continued support from the international community and how it is absolutely essential to guarantee women their rightful position in society.

The next 100 days plan focuses on educating the population, especially in the remote rural areas, about rights of women. The focus would be on engaging men in the process and making them equal stakeholders in creating a just society based on gender equity. Support for widows and destitute women would also be a significant aspect of the next 100 days plan by the Ministry.

Minister Nazari’s visit was really beneficial to get a glimpse of the progress made by Afghan women in the past decade and also realistically gage the challenges ahead and strategies to counter them