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Commercial Attaché Addresses Engineers at Army Navy Club

Commercial Attaché Khaleda Atta spoke on June 25 to a group of representatives of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Society of Afghan Engineers (SAE), and relevant companies at the Army Navy Club of Washington. The gathering was part a series of events for a delegation of architects and engineering professors from Kabul University and Kabul a Polytechnic University who are in the United States for a week-long training session.  

The program, entitled, “Afghanistan Engineering Capacity Building: An Opportunity for U.S. Firms,” was meant to bring a diverse group of professionals in the engineering field together to discuss means of aiding the engineering professionals of Afghanistan and expanding access to engineering methodologies and partnerships with US engineering and construction companies.

The program was moderated by Senior Vice President of the Louis Berger Group Frederic Berger and included other speakers from the World Bank, USAID, and US Army Corps of Engineers. The attendees discussed the role of capacity building in effective development, infrastructure projects and constraints to project delivery, building engineering capacity through working together, and successes in mentorship.

“The Afghan government’s inherent interest is to attract foreign investment that will lead to increased employment of our people,” said Atta. “We urge the U.S. private sector to partner with local companies and train the local workforce as part of their business plans for Afghanistan.” Atta said that donors such as USAID and the World Bank should do more to encourage socially conscious practices when awarding contracts to foreign companies while extending more funding for private sector development programs in the interest of build the capacity of local companies to deal with foreign partners. “We thank USTDA for funding this opportunity to bring academic leaders of our country to the U.S. and civil society organizations like ASCE and SAE for teaming up to see a successful implementation…Such public-private partnerships are the key to bringing the latest knowledge and trends to our eager and growing skilled workforce,” she said.

The delegation of six from Afghanistan included the Chancellor of Kabul University Dr. A. Rahman Ashraf, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Kabul University Dr. Ata Mohammad Nazar, as well as experienced Professors of Economics, Engineering and Architecture from both Universities. The U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) funded the training which was hosted by both ASCE and SAE. This event marked the first of four phases of training which will take place over the next year.

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