Issues of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Taliban – Lecture Series

Two lectures at the College of the Holy Cross this spring will explore politics, women’s issues and the role of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. First, Paula R. Newberg, director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, will talk on “Political Belief and Political Reconciliation: Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Problem of the Taliban,” on Tuesday, April 6 at 4:30 p.m. The following Monday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m., Patricia A. Omidian, an applied anthropologist in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 1997, will lecture on “Women in Afghanistan, from the Taliban Until Today.” Both lectures will be held in the Rehm Library at the College and are free and open to the public. The events are sponsored by the Peace and Conflict Studies program and the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at Holy Cross.

Newberg, who has covered Pakistan for 30 years, was special adviser to the United Nations from 1996-2006. In that role, she facilitated humanitarian and development operations in countries and societies emerging from conflict, including Afghanistan, Kosovo, Moldova, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, West Bank/Gaza and Yemen. She was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the dean of special programs at Skidmore College. She has taught at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Rutgers University Graduate School of Management, and Johns Hopkins/Nitze School. She is the author of Judging the State: Courts and Constitutional Politics in Pakistan (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Omidian has done extended fieldwork as a civilian anthropologist in Afghanistan both under the Taliban and under U.S. and NATO regimes. She served as children and war advisor for Save the Children United States. In 2001 and 2002, she developed the first community mental health program in Afghanistan. She has also worked with the Afghan Women’s Network, the International Rescue Committee, and UNIFEM, as well as other organizations.

She is currently associate professor and the head of social sciences for the Aga Khan University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Pakistan.

To learn more about these programs and other Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture events, visit

About The Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:

Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College’s commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope.  The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.

Source: Holy Cross

About Ahmad Amirali

I am an educator by profession, pursuing my further career in teaching and learning. I love to read and, even more, love to share what I read.
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