Friday October 2nd 2015
Entry by Phuong Nguyen (Vietnam).
It’s been such a great opportunity for us to get the chance to participate in the 38th Annual Global Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. For me personally, it has been such an eye-opening experience to sit down with presenters from around the world and across the United States. One of the sessions that I paid most attention on was about Afghan youths and how their financial insecurity led them to work for ISIS, causing global insecurity by presenter Fahima Amini from Chapman University School of Law.
The reason why I was very impressed with the idea is that I have always myself wondered what could be the reason why young people, men and women, who should have had great ideals about life and future, choose for themselves a path that leads the world to such a dangerous place to be. In Vietnamese we have an idiom that goes, “doing nothing is doing ill”. From Amini’s presentation, I understood that this has been the problem anywhere else in the world.
The presentation explained the causes of so many young Afghan’s participation in the force of Al-Qaeda and recently ISIS, as well as drug trafficking situation in Afghanistan that produces 80% of the global supply of opium (2013). The simple reason that Amini proposed was poverty. Through data from the presentation (36% of Afghan population lives under the poverty line, average suicide bomber age is 23), it can be seen that financial insecurity has made Afghan youths the most vulnerable than ever, leading them to join terrorist forces like Al-Qaeda and ISIS who provide them with shelter and food, while cultivating and selling drugs give them money to survive. In the end, financial insecurity leads to terrorism and drug use, affecting global security, health and stability.
Among one of the five solutions that Amini proposed (Community, Military, Legal, Economy and Education), I am most concerned with the last part. I have always believed that only through education can a society evolves and develops, and only through education can a person grow and complete him/herself. Giving someone educational opportunities is giving them a new life, and if more effort is put in having these young men and women in school/universities, it would not only help Afghanistan as nation but the world as a whole.
This presentation also relates to the last one by Elizabeth Dvorak Little, Stabilisation and Policy Specialist in Afghanistan, on the current status quo and what has been done to help stabilise the situation in the country. However, Dr. Patrick McNamara’s last question also triggered a lot of thoughts for me. Is it really high time the West stopped imposing its ideals and thoughts on the East and the world in general?
That question is left for us as future leaders of the world to answer.
The Annual Global Studies Conference is an annual conference hosted by University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University, with support from other universities and organisations. The 38th Global Studies Conference’s theme is focused on “Rethinking Global Security: Emerging Threats and Challenges” with the Inaugural East-West Studies Conference – Facing the New East-West Relations.