Afghanistan is one of the world’s least economically free countries, but the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO) has launched a new program to help build a greater understanding of the benefits of liberty and free markets. The “Tolerance and Prosperity Caravan,” is a series of conferences and roundtable discussions designed to help young people connect with ideas that will help them fight for democracy and against extremism. This is AELSO’s latest effort to reach new audiences.
Under the direction of executive director Khalid Ramizy, AELSO organized three major conferences in Kabul, Paktia, and Balkh provinces. The organization also sponsored roundtables for women and men and then brought everyone together for broader discussions in the larger forums.
More than 150 individuals participated in the Peace, Tolerance, & Prosperity conference held in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, where attendees discussed the importance of human rights, inclusion, and peace as well as the dangers of extremism. Participants were invited to join regardless of political views and cultural and religious backgrounds, which is a rarity in Afghanistan.
Speaker Dr. Amit Chandra, who traveled to Balkh province from India’s Centre for Civil Society (CCS), another Atlas Network partner, was impressed by the energy and aspiration of the youthful participants. “I am so glad that I could be part of the Peace, Tolerance and Prosperity Conference, and I am moved by the bold effort of AELSO in promoting values of peace and freedom” commented Dr. Chandra.
Ramizy is excited about AELSO’s leadership in introducing Afghanis to new ideas. “We are sure that the programs we are conducting in the Tolerance & Prosperity Caravan can play a very significant role in Afghanistan for bringing peace, prosperity, and liberty.”
The goal of Tolerance and Prosperity Caravan is to promote the ideas of democracy, liberty, and tolerance while opposing radicalism. In order to help spread the message, AELSO distributed brochures, stickers, and other liberty-themed literature. Maryam Zari, who participated in the caravan, concluded, “I am sure that these kinds of projects can bring peace and liberty in Afghanistan and also make aware Afghan nation to they should take part on bringing of peace and prosperity.”
Encouraged by the caravan’s success, AELSO is committed to long-term peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. Ramizy feels optimistic about the prospects of lasting peace and a freer society in the future. “We are educating the new generation in Afghanistan about the culture of peace, toleration, and prosperity.”