Congratulating the “YLFees” on their successful graduation, Dr. Magdalena Kirchner, Country Director of FES Afghanistan, welcomed about 70 guests, among them representatives of the Wolesi Jirga, international embassies, government agencies, media and civil society. She emphasized that more than 300 young Afghans had participated in the program in the past 15 years, and many of them have used their skills developed in the program to become true leaders for their communities and pass on the YLF values and spirit to others. 2020 will be a critical year for Afghanistan and the bridge-builders, leaders and social justice enthusiasts of the YLF alumni network are more needed than ever!
Besides capacity-building, YLF also is a platform for exchange and debates on current socio-political challenges and crucial questions for the future of Afghanistan. Hence, there was no better way to celebrate YLF than the timely panel discussion “How can we make electoral processes and the democratic system sustainable and ready for the future?”.
Together with Peter Prügel, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kabul, Shaharzad Akbar, Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and YLF 2005 as well as Qadir Zazai Watandost, Head of Secretariat at the Afghanistan Parliament and YLF 2006, the YLFees discussed the recent presidential elections and the future of Afghanistan’s democratic institutions. All panelists emphasized the need for more debate and preparation of the post-election process prior to the election date to avoid or at least mitigate problems and confusion in the future. Another key takeaway from the discussion for everyone in the room was the need for strengthening the resilience and responsiveness of the democratic structures and a substantial investment by the current – and future leaders – to elevate social trust in them.
The program was concluded with distribution of certificates for the 2017-18 YLFies and a memorable group and family photo. The next call for applications (#YLF20) will be opened on January 1st, 2020.