Hello from UNITAR: Peace for the Children of Afghanistan

by Yoko Morita, UNITAR Hiroshima Office

Mr. Sabahuddin Sokout (44) is an outposted member of the UNITAR Hiroshima Office working in Kabul, Afghanistan. He has many years of experience.

Mr. Sokout first leaded about UNITAR in 2005. He applied for the Afghanistan Fellowship Programme and was accepted. Afghanistan’s security situation was unstable, so Mr. Sokout wished to learn through the programme “the secrets behind the Hiroshima’s reconstruction and how Hiroshima and Japan’s experience is different from Afghanistan.” He became a UNITAR staff member in 2007, gradually inheriting the role from his predecessor.

In Afghanistan, Mr. Sokout sometimes observes that everyone wants to be a leader, rather than a supporter or team player. Through the years of his work at UNITAR, Mr. Sokout has acquired team-building skills, including supporting other and cultivating leadership and teamwork skills in those around him.

He now sees clear progresses in Afghanistan, which has experienced improvements such as an increase in foreign investment, a higher employment rate, and more educational opportunities for girls. Nevertheless, Mr. Sokout has also witnessed the deteriorating security situation, which includes frequent murders and suicide bombings. The current security is even more unstable than during the Taliban period, when peace on the streets was achieved by merciless criminal punishment. Mr. Sokout has faced danger himself: He was once injured by glass shattered in an explosion. In order to protect his family, Mr. Sokout does not speak of his work or affiliation with the United Nations to his neighbors unless they are truly trusted friends.

“I long for peace. It should not be a vague vision, but an authentic goal that every citizen commits to,” Mr. Sokout said. “I hope my children can witness true peace.”

(Originally published on August 7, 2018)