"We have gone through 13 good years"

Jawad Jawed

Jawad Jawed completed a Master's degree in International Business at a British university and has worked as news editor with the Ariana Television Network and as media analyst at the British Embassy in Afghanistan. He is currently head of public relations at the Office of Administrative Affairs. We talked to Jawad as part of our feature on 'Young Politicians.'

Please tell us more about yourself.
My name is Jawad Jawed. I studied for my Master's degree in International Business at a British university. I've been at the Secretariat of Ministers' Council for a year where I recently took on the post of spokesperson and head of public relations at the Office of Administrative Affairs.  

Is your field of study related to what you are currently doing?
From a theoretical point of view, management is the same whether it's in a government office or a private one. What is important is using the appropriate tools of management for the environment. Government management, especially in central government, requires an in-depth knowledge of policies. The same is required here at the Administrative Affairs Office. In Afghanistan, we have a young generation that offers good human resources. In order to make proper use of that, they need to be equipped with managerial skills. In the modern world, management is no longer conceived as an art but as knowledge. Those who have studied management can effectively work in any area be it government, the private sector or even civil society organizations.   

How do you see the progress made by Afghanistan's young people over the past 13 years?
Young people have yet to reach high political positions but they have worked hard to improve their prospects. There are many young people still in education and there are also those employed in various government and non-government organizations. This is a significant and historical achievement for Afghanistan. In the past our young people didn't have such prospects. They were mostly employed in farming and looking after livestock. We are witnessing a growing middle class, which is quite promising for the future of the country.  

Young people aren't able to hold high political positions. What are the reasons for that?
13 years ago, our young people were not as educated as they are today. The important roles were left to the older generation who had a more traditional way of thinking. Despite that, young people have become active in various sectors of society and now it is clear that the younger generation is gradually taking on more important positions at a national level.

What instruments do young people need to enter into Afghan politics?
I regard this issue from a managerial point of view. Capacity building is very crucial. During the 1960s, Afghanistan witnessed the establishment of a significant number of leftwing and rightwing political parties, due to the increase of education in urban areas. Later on, the same generation appeared as jihadi, communist and liberal leaders. We have gone through 13 good years where young people have significantly developed their abilities. I hope the new government will further strengthen the role of young people in politics.

How much will the ideas of the younger generation of politicians be compatible with those of leaders from previous generations?
That's an interesting question. The experience of the previous generation and its mistakes and achievements can serve as a great source of learning for the new generation. What's important is that our leaders allow the unhindered inclusion of young people into politics. In the United States, Edward Kennedy is a white man who greatly supported Barack Obama who is black. At the same time Obama had the ability to meet Kennedy's expectations.

Do you think the political behaviour of Afghanistan's outgoing leaders can serve as a model?
Their behaviour is worthy both of praise and criticism. But overall, they cannot be said to have been bad. For instance, President Hamid Karzai didn't just keep jihadi leaders in the political mainstream – he also involved young people.

In your view, what makes good politics?
The discussion about what makes good politics is quite complex. I think it's impossible to define. Nevertheless I think that the politics are best when they are based on an idea. In other words, politics shouldn't directly define our ways of thinking and activities. That would mean politics changing from a tactic to a strategy. For example, participating in an election as a candidate requires a firm belief in democratic values. If one does not value the voice of the people and use their votes as a tool to gain power, then the political system is flawed.

Are you interested in getting involved in politics?
Humans are political beings. Politics impact directly on people's lives. Although I'm not politically active, I am serious about performing my duties and responsibilities as a citizen of this country.

How much is the role of the citizen and their responsibility respected in today's politics?
Afghanistan's younger generation has yet to be recognized in modern terms, although they have been given the potential. But this doesn't mean we should be disillusioned. Our new generation must do its utmost to support peace, stability and women's rights and work to eliminate ethnic discrimination and violence, and to promote democracy. The new era has seen a relative improvement in respect for civil rights. Peace, security, voting etc. are a basic civil right. Our constitutional law now provides certain rights for women and young people should keep struggling for their civil rights.   

What are your hopes for the next ten years?
It is difficult to predict what will happen in 10 years. I hope that genuine efforts will be undertaken for the progress of the country and that its people can live peacefully and enjoy their full rights.

What do you think Afghanistan will be like in ten years time?
Afghanistan will not be like it was during the 1990s. Currently, there's a flourishing middle class. We have young people who are active in various areas including music, sports, academia and also elections. No one can take away from Afghanistan the young people who will be running the country in a modern way in ten years time.