With its strategic location Afghanistan has been a focus of global politics for many centuries. Despite its fragile nation-state and conflicting ethnic parties, Afghanistan has managed not to formally cede its sovereignty to a colonial power or break up along ethnic lines. How can we explain this historical development? How does the Afghan state function? What role do international organizations and NGOs play in Afghan state-building? What role do the Taliban play? What role does migration play? What role do global Islamist networks play? Can we speak of Afghanistan as a “failed state”? What can the case of Afghanistan teach us about contemporary global politics? Join us for a panel discussion on Afghan state building and the global significance of Afghanistan featuring both scholars and experienced practitioners who have worked in Afghanistan for NGOs and international organizations.
Robert D. Crews is Professor of History at Stanford University. He is an historian whose research and teaching interests focus on Afghanistan, Central and South Asia, Russia, Islam, and Global History. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he received an MA from Columbia University and a PhD degree in History from Princeton University. His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The New York Times. His latest research project explores Shia politics in Afghanistan.
Anna-Karin Johansson was Secretary General for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) 2013-2017. SCA is one of the largest non-governmental organizations active in Afghanistan, with 5000 employees and activities within health, education and livelihood. During her time as Secretary General she travelled extensively in the conflict-torn country and met with representatives from many sectors of the society. She has been working with human rights, democracy, discrimination and development issues in Sweden and internationally. Her previous positions were at the Living History Forum, the Swedish Ombudsman against discrimination, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), as well as the Government Offices. She started her career as a journalist, mainly covering international affairs at the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Anna-Karin Johansson holds a university degree in Journalism.
Sari Kouvo is Co-Director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network and Associate Professor at the Department of Law, Gothenburg University. She was previously a policy officer at the European External Action Service, head of program at the International Centre for Transitional Justice, researcher at Amnesty International, adviser to the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan and Lecturer at Gothenburg University. Sari holds a doctorate in International Law from Gothenburg University (Sweden). She has held visiting fellowships at the NATO Defense College (Italy), Kent University (UK), Åbo Academy (Finland) and the Australian National University. Sari has published extensively on Afghanistan, international law and gender-related subjects.
Admir Skodo is a Researcher at the Swedish South Asian Studies Network at Lund University, Sweden. He holds a PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the co-head teacher of Understanding Asylum, a training program developed for the Swedish Migration Agency. His publications on Afghanistan and Afghan migration have appeared in The Independent, Nidaba: Interdisciplinary Journal of Middle East Studies, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs Occasional Papers, and the Times Literary Supplement
Ted Svensson is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden. He holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. His publications include Production of Postcolonial India and Pakistan: Meanings of Partition (Routledge, 2013) and articles in Postcolonial Studies, Third World Quarterly, Global Society and Alternatives. He is also editor of the journal Cooperation and Conflict.