Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

Watch the recording of the webinar, “AfghaniSTUNNED: Making Sense of Afghanistan’s Realities and Relations" on 10 September 2021, 1 – 5 PM, Philippine Standard Time. The webinar, which features four presentations, is free and open to the public, but participation requires signing in to a basic (free) Zoom account.
Watch the Recording

The Evolution of Uzbekistan’s Foreign Policy towards Afghanistan

ABSTRACT: This lecture examines the historical development of Uzbekistan's stance on the situation in Afghanistan, outlines its main stages, achievements and challenges, investigates the major initiatives of Tashkent in solving conflict in the neighboring country before and after 2016, the major priorities of its contemporary foreign policy towards the Afghan conflict, and the Uzbek government's expectations from the upcoming developments in Afghanistan.
SPEAKER: Akram Umarov is Senior Research Fellow at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy. Previously, he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. He received his Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy. His research interests are security studies, conflict management, public diplomacy, Afghanistan, Central Asian studies, CIS countries, public administration, global security, peace and development. Akram Umarov is the author of monograph, “Afghanistan and regional security of Central Asia: the beginning of XXI century” (in Russian; UWED, 2017) and book chapter, “Donald Trump’s Presidency and the Implementation of OBOR in Central Asia” (in Changing Regional Alliances for China and West, edited by D. Lane and G. Zhu, Lexington Books, 2017). His articles have appeared in Asian Affairs, Central Asian Affairs, Asia and Africa, National Strategy Issues, Comparative Politics, Defence Journal, and other peer-reviewed journals.

Afghanistan: Past, Present, and Future

SPEAKER: Benjamin D. Hopkins is a historian of modern South Asia, specializing in the history of Afghanistan and British imperialism on the Indian subcontinent. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited numerous books on the region, including The Making of Modern AfghanistanFragments of the Afghan Frontier, and Beyond Swat: History, Society and Economy along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier. His new book, Ruling the Savage Periphery: Frontier Governance and the Making of the Modern State, presents a global history of how the limits of today’s state-based political order were organized in the late nineteenth century, with lasting effects to the present day. He is currently working on A Concise History of Afghanistan for Cambridge University Press, as well as a manuscript about the continuing war in Afghanistan provisionally entitled, The War that Destroyed America.

Friends and Foe in the Afghanistan War: Pakistan's Role

TALKING POINTS: This presentation by Mr. Ershad Noorzai covers Pakistan’s jihad policy, Strategic Depth, proxy war, and sanctuaries. 
SPEAKER: Mr.  Noorzai is a historian and writer with an MA in Indology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and is a candidate for MA in Philosophy at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. A long-time observer of Afghanistan, he is also a contributor to The New Leam, and the author of the essay, "Joe Biden on Afghanistan: Will It Be Different From the Trump Years?"

The Afghan Conundrum and Pakistan: Opportunities and Challenges

ASBTRACT: Soon after its creation in 1947, Pakistan inherited border disputes with India and Afghanistan. India was the only country that opposed Pakistan’s membership to the United Nations. Since then, the relationship has been more defined by conflict than cooperation, as Pakistan has been trying to install a friendly government in Kabul. It also continues to look at Afghanistan through the lens of “strategic depth” and this approach is responsible for its continued support for the Taliban. Now that the Taliban have taken over Kabul the second time, Pakistan has to carefully assess its options whether it can achieve its national interests through the Taliban. As Islamabad does not fully control the Taliban, there might still be differences and conflicts over a range of issues, including Taliban’s support for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. This paper will present an assessment of both opportunities and challenges in connection to Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.
SPEAKER: Dr. Zahid Shahab Ahmed is a Research Fellow at Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University. Dr Ahmed is an expert on peace and security in South Asia. During 2017-19, he was a non-resident research fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. Prior to joining Deakin University in April 2016, he was an Assistant Professor at the Centre for International Peace and Stability, National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. He has extensive experience carrying out fieldwork in South Asia, particularly in Pakistan. He is the author of Regionalism and Regional Security in South Asia: The Role of SAARC (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013). His work has been published in reputable international journals, such as Civil Wars, Middle East Policy, Asian Studies Review, Third World Quarterly, and Territory, Politics, Governance.

About the Webinar: Overview and Guidelines

The withdrawal of the United States and the Taliban’s retaking control of the capital represent  a turning point for Afghanistan, a landlocked country that has remained poor and struggling for peace over the years. These new political and social developments pose far-reaching implications for Central Asia’s regional security and its relations with nuclear power neighbors (Russia, China, India, Iran, and Pakistan) as well as the US’ role and influence in the region. This webinar-forum outlines different factors affecting Afghanistan’s long struggle for peace, and aims to understand how these factors affect domestic politics, regional security, and/or global relations. 
Please take note of the following guidelines:
    • When registering for the webinar, use the same email address that you use for your Zoom account.

    • If your registration is successful, you will receive your link to join the webinar.  Please do not share your link with anyone else.
    • Attendance is first-come, first-served. The webinar can only accommodate 1000.

    • For a smooth entry to the webinar, log in first to your Zoom account before clicking the invitation/join link.
    • Please type questions only at the Q&A window. You may choose to remain anonymous. Some questions will be read out and answered live. The speaker(s) may wish to respond to the Q&A via chat.
    • The host(s) reserves the right to remove participants who send rude, inappropriate questions or messages.

The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D.  program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.