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JOURNALISM TRAINING AT KABUL UNIVERSITY. A presentation prepared by Professor Kazim Ahang, Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at Kabul University, for the JourNet conference, Newcastle, NSW, Australia. February, 2004. Greetings from Kabul, Afghanistan. This is Professor

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A presentation prepared by Professor Kazim Ahang,

Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at Kabul University,

for the JourNet conference, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

February, 2004

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Greetings from Kabul, Afghanistan. This is Professor

Kazim Ahang Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at

Kabul University. It is with regret that I cannot be

with you today at the JourNet conference in Newcastle,

Australia. However, I thank you for the invitation and

hope that your conference is successful and rewarding.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Kabul University

and to the beautiful land of Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan is an ancient country that has known

countless civilizations. It has places of great beauty

and great historical significance and a multi-cultural


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However, years of civil war have caused huge

destruction in Afghanistan.

The country is littered with war debris and

landmines. Many parts of Kabul have been

totally destroyed.

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Even our cultural life was disrupted and the

infrastructure of the media destroyed…

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This is a cinema in west Kabul, once the

front line in the fighting.

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All our media equipment is old.

Here is a street photographer, still making

his living using a camera from last century.

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And, until we received support from outside,

this was the main equipment of our national

news agency, Bakhtar.

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Even the former UNESCO Educational

Technology building was not spared.

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However, now this is being re-built and

will soon be used again for preparing and

broadcasting distance education programmes.

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And, of course, the best known case of cultural

destruction are the Buddha statues of Bamiyan.

Willfully destroyed by the Taliban.

Treasures of the past, gone forever.

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One sector particularly affected by years of war

and repression was that of education. During

Taliban times, girls could not attend schools,

nor could women teachers go to work.

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Kabul University is the main higher education

institution in Afghanistan and is the oldest

university in the country.

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Our beautiful campus, full of trees and gardens, is situated in

west Kabul. Fortunately, the civil war spared us major damage,

although some parts of the campus were destroyed and the

general infrastructure became decayed.

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This is our main library. Even this building in

received war damage. Now, the cataloguing

system is having to be started all over again

and we are also seeking new textbooks and

reference materials from all over the world.

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Of course, nowadays every University needs access to the in

Internet. The first Internet connection on the campus came to

us thanks to the generosity of the Government of Japan and

UNESCO. We have established an Internet Café within the main

library and this is used every day by students and teachers.

Now let us take you on a journey through the faculty of journalism but first a few facts l.jpg
Now, let us take you on a journey through the in Faculty of Journalism. But first, a few facts:

  • the Faculty of Journalism is one of the oldest at the University. This year, it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

  • currently, some 350 students are enrolled to study journalism.

  • students must complete 130 credit hours of study to be eligible for graduation.

  • the Faculty has two departments: Press and Radio/Television.

  • there are twelve Professors and Lecturers in the Faculty.

  • teaching is carried out at both the B.A. and M.A. levels.

  • a night school caters for students who cannot attend daytime lectures. Currently 55 students are enrolled in this mode.

  • other journalism and communication departments exist at Balkh University, in northern Afghanistan, and Herat University in the western part of the country.

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This is one of the classrooms in our Faculty. in

At present, there are no students at the university

because it is closed for winter. However,

you can see that our facilities are basic.

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Thanks to UNESCO and friends around the in

world, we now have a new library full of

mass communication and journalism books.

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These books came to us from academic in

institutions, friends and ordinary citizens

worldwide after UNESCO put out an appeal

on the Internet. If you sent some books,

we sincerely thank you.

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We also have our own small computer training in

centre which is for the young men and women

who will be the next generation of journalists in

Afghanistan. Here, they can be trained and also

access information from overseas.

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A recent addition to the Faculty of Journalism is an FM in

radio station. An FM broadcasting frequency has been

granted and we are now training our teachers and

students how to use the radio station. Soon, we hope

to be broadcasting information and entertainment about

the University to a wide part of the population of Kabul.

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This, then, is the Faculty of Journalism at Kabul University.

We hope that this brief introduction gives you a better idea

of who we are and what we do.

We are keen to be part of the global academic community

and look forward to joining JourNet and other like-minded

bodies. Support for the work of the Faculty comes from

many sources, including UNESCO, Lille University in France,

the Governments of the United Kingdom, France and the

United States of America, as well as from media NGO’s,

like Media Action International, the AINA Media Centre and


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So, from Professor Ahang at my desk here in Kabul, thank you

again for the invitation to join your conference. On behalf of all

my colleagues, I send you our best wishes and with the hope

that we can join with you again in the future.

We are an optimistic and hospitable people and you are always

welcome to visit us in Kabul. Goodbye…or as we say in Afghanistan,

“Khuda Haafiz”

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