In this Feature Focus Webcast, Dr. Alam Payind, Director of The Ohio State University's Middle East Studies Center (MESC), provides context for the current situation in Afghanistan and his assessment of its prospects for the future.

Dr. Payind has been the Director of MESC since 1986. Born and raised in Afghanistan, he speaks Pashto, Dari, and Urdu with native fluency. Dr. Payind served in the Afghan government as the Director General of Cultural and Foreign Relations, and was a professor at Kabul University before the Soviet invasion in 1979 forced him to seek refuge in the United States. He continues to conduct field work, provide consultations on a regular basis in Afghanistan, and has visited the country 10 times since September 11, 2001. He travels extensively within the Afghan borders. During recent trips, he has witnessed the Taliban’s resurgence in Kandahar, Helmand, and Zabul.

In addition to being a professor at The Ohio State University, he is part of the faculty at Kabul University in Afghanistan and is a consultant to the new Afghan government in its educational reconstruction efforts. In late 2006, Dr. Payind was offered the position of Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom, which he turned down for personal and professional reasons. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science and Higher Education, as well as an M.A. in Political Science in 1977 from Indiana University, his M.Sc. in Higher Education from Indiana University in 1972, and his B.A. in Political Science and Islamic Law from Kabul University in 1966.

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