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Category Archives: Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative
There is no denying that the road ahead for Afghanistan, even when a new president takes office and the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) gets signed, will continue to be fraught with tremendous challenges for the foreseeable future. However, people like Lotfullah Nazafizada, Afghan 21 Class of 2011, offer reasons for hope.
Asia Society is currently seeking Asia 21 Young Leaders for our Class of 2014-15, as well as for our Asia 21 sub-groups: India-Pakistan 21 and Afghan 21. Each year, Asia Society welcomes a new class of 30 Young Leaders under age 40 from throughout Asia and the U.S. to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue and cultural exchange, and to develop cooperative responses for addressing shared challenges.
Freshta’s account begins on her 22nd birthday, the eve of the Afghan elections- the democratic transition that nation anxiously awaits. Using her birthdays for reference, she reflects on the events that have shaped the country, and the journey that has found both her and Afghanistan earnestly awaiting change. She describes the month twenty two years prior, when her family would have celebrated not only her birth but the ‘Islamic and peaceful government’, completely oblivious to the four year civil strife that lay ahead. Through the innocent eyes of a child, Freshta illustrates the perpetual dread in Kabul. “Marks of bullets and bombs were visible in every second building of the city but for me, then a Cartoon Network addict, it all appeared like illusionary cartoon figures,” she writes.
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Two of Asia Society’s very own Asia 21 Young Leaders, Beijing-based and New York-educated Visual Artist Danwen Xing, and Scarlett Li, Founder and CEO of Zebra Media, were panel discussants at the 6th Annual Global Symposium entitled Women Changing China, an event conducted by the Barnard College of Columbia University held in Shanghai’s Portman Ritz Carlton last March 19. The event brought together prominent female members of business, finance, academia, media, and art world of China.