H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, spoke at Utah Valley University (UVU) yesterday and visited several important institutions in the state.
Ambassador addressed students and academics at UVU, including US military veterans who served in Afghanistan. Ambassador Tanin’s presentation focused on the strides that have been made in Afghanistan over the last ten years and the trials that have yet to be overcome in achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. Ambassador Tanin outlined how the last decade has seen “substantial improvements…in access to healthcare and education, development of infrastructure and economic growth” in Afghanistan.
To ensure future stability and success, however, Ambassador Tanin highlighted the importance of “a responsible gradual draw down of US and international forces through 2014 that is linked to the training of Afghan forces and a strategic partnership over the next decade or more”.
Afghanistan’s transition, Ambassador Tanin explained, from “a war affected and conflict ridden zone into a functioning state and a viable society” will require a focus on five interrelated elements: 1) security, 2) governance and rule of law, 3) human and economic development, 4) reconciliation and reintegration, and 5) ending safe havens for anti-government forces. The Ambassador emphasized that a successful transition, however, is contingent upon effective regional cooperation and the development of strategic partnerships to achieve true stability in the country.
The Ambassador’s presentation ended on a hopeful note: “With a successful transition, in 10 years time, I’m confident we’ll see a stable, reliable Afghanistan partnering in a mutually beneficial way with the US.”
Ambassador Tanin and his wife, Mrs. Zarghoona Tanin met Utah Governor Gary Herbert and First Lady Jeanette Herbert, at the Governor’s mansion. They also went on a tour of the Latter Day Saints Humanitarian Center which provides vocational rehabilitation and humanitarian aid to over 140 countries worldwide, regardless of religious affiliation. Ambassador Tanin met with representatives of business and the legislators during a lunch at the World Trade Center Utah. The World Trade Center Utah supports businesses seeking to develop or increase their trade capabilities by analysis of trade capacity, referrals to relevant services, and educational events in increase knowledge. He also met with military officers who served in Afghanistan and other students during his stay.
Utah Valley University (UVU) is located in Orem, Utah and, with 33,000 students, is the largest state university in Utah.