Events Latest — 23 November 2012

The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), KOFF/SwissPeace and The Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan and the Region are holding a critical public roundtable in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, 7 December 2012 with the aim of exploring what has gone wrong with Afghanistan over the past decade and what needs to be done if matters are to be put right. (Please note: The Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan, or any of the editors, journalists or others involved with the publication, have absolutely nothing to do with Media21 or its current director, Ms Shireen Lindsey-Hirst, who also goes by the name Shireen Nawaz).

Speakers and panelists include:

As most US and NATO troops prepare to leave Afghanistan in 2014, foreign actors must rethink their security and peacebuilding as well as humanitarian and development approaches. While insecurity and economic hardship may threaten the Afghan population beyond 2014, donor countries need to ensure humanitarian assistance, encourage sustainable socio-economic development and support local governance structures that are responsive to people’s security needs.

However, what Afghanistan needs most is a political solution. Whether greater military pressure on “the Taliban” is the more promising way for fruitful negotiations, remains to be seen. As much of the insurgency is a function of people’s dissatisfaction with the political architecture implemented by the West and the warlords in 2001, future negotiations must focus on Afghans – not foreigners. What’s needed is a new approach that helps Afghans rebuild their own country – with them in the lead.

Part I of the roundtable aims to highlight lessons learned from the past and bring to the fore major political challenges ahead for both Afghans and their international partners. Part II will highlight the consequences of these political developments for humanitarian and development actors and their response strategies and capabilities.

The roundtable webcast, which begins at 1230 hours Geneva time and ends at 1600 hours will take questions and comments from the global audience (#essentialafghanistan), but if you wish to attend in person please RSVP to Can Deniz Email: (See location details below)

Date: Friday, 7 December 2012

Time: Part 1: 12:00 – 14:00, Part 2: 14:20 – 16:00

Venue: Geneva Centre for Security Policy GCSP, Avenue de la Paix 7bis, 1202 Geneva, WMO/OMM Building, Kruzel Hall 2nd Floor. The roundtable will be webcast. See for details. (#essentialafghanistan)

ID: Please make sure to have your ID card with you when entering the building

Registration: RSVP to email:


12:00 Lunch

12:30 Keynote speeches of Michael Keating and Mohammad Jalil Shams

13:00 Comments from Edward Girardet and Lucy Morgan Edwards and Q&A

14:00 End of Part I and Coffee break

14:20 Input speeches Marianne Huber and Emmanuel Tronc

14:40 Panel discussion with all Speakers and Q&A

16:00 End of Part II

Speaker Bios

Michael Keating, Former UN Deputy Special Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan

Michael Keating, who has also worked with Afghanistan during the late 1980s and 90s, was responsible more recently for coordinating the UN system’s activities out of Kabul. This involved engaging with and advising the Government, civil society and the international community, including ISAF, on issues such as reconciliation, economic development, governance, rule of law and disaster management. Having previously served as Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel in Geneva, Mr. Keating was, before his latest assignment, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Malawi. He also served as Director of Socio-Economic Affairs in the Secretary-General’s Office for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), in Jerusalem and Gaza.

Mohammad Jalil Shams, Former Afghan Minister of Economy and former Deputy Minister of Energy and Water

Before his assignment as Minister of Economy 2006-2009, Dr. Mohammad Jalil Shams was Deputy Minister of Energy and Water. DR. Shams’ responsibilities included among others the formulation of The National Strategy of Afghanistan for Energy. His last governmental office was C.E.O. of The Afghanistan Electricity Company entrusted with the responsibility to transform this entity from a “State Company” to a state owned Corporation operating under the “Private Company’s Law’. Dr. Shams was involved in the Resistance against the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan and served as Deputy Foreign Minister from 1992 (after Soviet Withdrawal) until 1994 when he resigned as protest against the ongoing Civil war in Afghanistan. He is the Co founder of the “Cyprus Movement” and as the delegate of this Afghan Group took part in the “Bonn Conference”, where he played a main role in formulation of ‘The Bonn Agreement”.

Edward Girardet, Journalist and Author of Killing the Cranes.

Edward Girardet is a Swiss-American author of several books including: Killing the Cranes – A Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan. A journalist and producer, Girardet has reported widely from humanitarian and conflict zones in Africa, Asia and elsewhere since the late 1970s. As a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, and The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour based in Paris, he first began covering Afghanistan several months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. He is now a director of Crosslines Essential Media (UK) Ltd. and editor of The Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan and the Region. (

Marianne Huber, Country Director Swiss Development Cooperation SDC Kabul

Marianne Huber is the Country Director of the Swiss Development Cooperation SDC in Afghanistan and headed before an NGO in the country for 2 years. She has 15 years of experience in development and Humanitarian Aid (South Asia, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa). She has Master degrees in Oriental studies and Near Eastern philology.

Emmanuel Tronc, Humanitarian Advocacy & Representation Coordinator Médecins sans frontièrs International

Emmanuel Tronc has worked with MSF since 1997, holding the post of Head of Mission in numerous contexts including Liberia, Ivory Coast and DRC. He has a particular interest in Afghanistan, where he has spent an extensive amount of time over the past decade, leading MSF evaluations and working also as Head of Mission. He has also participated to the exploratory mission and the negotiation process with the different parties for MSF return in Afghanistan from 2007.

Lucy Morgan Edwards, Political Scientist, former Advisor to EU Ambassador in Kabul, Author of The Afghan Solution

Lucy Morgan Edwards is author of The Afghan Solution (Pluto Press/ Palgrave Macmillan) and a researcher on State-building at the Centre for Advanced International Studies at the University of Exeter. She first worked in Afghanistan during the Taliban period running community based projects for UNCHS in Kandahar and Herat. After 9/11 she experienced the transition as an election monitor, a researcher on transitional justice for ICG, correspondent for the Economist and Political Advisor to the EU Ambassador focussed on SSR, civil-military relations and narcotics. She was then ‘Country Expert’ to the EU Chief Election Observer on the 2005 Parliamentary elections.


Part I: Caty Clément, Senior Programme Advisor and Senior Fellow, Leadership in Conflict Management Programme, GCSP

Part II: Ursula Keller, Director KOFF Center for Peacebuilding, Swisspeace

Webcast moderator: William Dowell, co-editor, Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan and Region webportal. Twitter #essentialafghan for commenting and putting questions to the webcast on December 7, 2012.



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