Afghan officials learn from Hiroshima’s revival

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Hiroshima Office held a public session concerning the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan, reflecting on Hiroshima's experience of recovering from the devastation of the atomic bombing. About 70 people, including 27 Afghan government officials and other professionals who have come to Hiroshima as part of the UNITAR Hiroshima Fellowship for Afghanistan, attended the November 5 session held at the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry in downtown Hiroshima.

H.E.Eklil A. Hakimi, Afghanistan Ambassador to Japan, spoke about current conditions in the country, where its infrastructure, such as education, medical services and road systems, is being improved. "Hiroshima is a place where we can learn the hope and vision necessary for reconstruction," he said, also expressing gratitude for the training program provided by the UNITAR Hiroshima Office.

Akira Tashiro, the executive director of the Hiroshima Peace Media Center, a wing of the Chugoku Shimbun, shared his hope that the members will take back the spirit of Hiroshima to Afghanistan, a spirit grounded in dialogue and reconciliation, and work to develop a peaceful nation.

Waheedullah Popalzai, 30, a Ministry of Finance official, remarked, "Hiroshima rose from the ashes. Learning from its hope and commitment to reconstruction, Afghanistan should be able to achieve this, too."

(Originally published on November 6, 2009)

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