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Winter 2010

A Washington sabbatical for Afghan scholars

We’re an Afghan/WSU contingent marching up Western Avenue in Seattle. Four Afghan men, all good friends, are dressed in suits and carrying big bouquets of flowers. They are in a boisterous mood. Not only is it a glorious day, they have WSU-embossed certificates in their non-flower hands and they are going home the next day after a long and productive summer in Pullman.

Azim Emad, Homayun Fazil, Rafi Khalil Nasar, and Sami Wardak, with ten others, have just completed the study abroad portion of their master’s degrees in public administration and public policy from Kabul University, a program that Washington State University helped establish through … » More …

Spring 2010

Letters for Spring 2010

Track to the future

What a joy to hear about the possible return of the Palouse Goose! (Winter 09/10) I have many great memories of traveling between Spokane and Pullman in the early 60’s on the single-car “train” that carried us to and from college. Most of the time we were able to sit in the passenger side of the car but on one memorable trip the seats were full and several of us got to ride with the baggage. Accompanying us were several caged roosters, bound possibly for a future cockfight. We eyed each other throughout our transit, their dark beady eyes shining through … » More …

Spring 2003

Rebuilding a city, repairing psyches

“You can’t put the blame on one side. Everybody has made some contributions to the misery.”

So thought Rafi Samizay, professor in the School of Architecture and Construction Management at Washington State University, as he stood in what is left of his high school in Kabul, Afghanistan. As he tried to chat cheerfully with students about favorite teachers they shared, the remains of the school teetered around them. Classes are still held in part of the building that was blown up, so students have to gingerly make their way across a second-story, narrow piece of concrete that falls off to nothing. Others walk below. Where … » More …

Spring 2004

Architecture from the Weapons of War

Homes constructed from artillery shells. Military tanks used as foundations for bridges. Flowerpots that were once parts of missiles. In Afghanistan, a generation of war has resulted in a strange new architecture, built from the implements of destruction. A series of photographs by Washington State University professor Rafi Samizay on Afghanistan and its architecture will be on display starting March 9 at the WSU Museum of Art. Titled “Afghanistan: Land of Light and Shadow,” the show is cocurated by Robert Barnstone, assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Construction Management, and Roger Rowley, Museum of Art curator and collections manager. In conjunction with the … » More …

Winter 2008

An Afghanistan success story

The people of Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan suffered through a severe drought from 1997 through 2001. On top of years of conflict, the drought took an enormous toll on its people. Farmers sold off their cattle as the drought worsened, unable to grow forage or grain to feed them. Then they sold the sheep, then the goats.

Without adequate irrigation, fruit and nut trees withered and died.
By the time the drought eased, Laghman province farmers had lost 70 percent of their livestock. Milk and cheese had traditionally been a major source of protein, and cows served as draft animals as well as … » More …