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Ambassador Jawad Addresses Humanitarian Engagement in Afghanistan

Ambassador Said T. Jawad spoke at the opening session of the 2009 Afghan Symposium in Washington on June 30, using the opportunity to discuss humanitarian and philanthropic engagement with Afghanistan. The symposium included panel discussions with experts and practitioners in development and philanthropy.

In his remarks, Ambassador Jawad spoke of philanthropy in Afghanistan, pointing out that while it has longstanding roots in the country it has lacked institutional mechanisms and networks. "Individual philanthropic work has deep roots in Afghanistan, both through religious organizations and amongst families, neighbors and small communities," he noted. "However, we need to further enhance Afghan institutional charitable mechanisms to channel resources and expertise to Afghanistan." Those mechanisms, he pointed out, exist in the U.S. and allow Americans to channel over $315 billion a year to charitable causes.

Ambassador Jawad recognized the Bayat Foundation, the sponsor of the symposium, for taking a lead in institutional philanthropy in Afghanistan. "Fortunately, the Bayat Foundation has been once again at the forefront of institutional philanthropic work," he stated.

In closing, Ambassador Jawad offered three brief recommendations for how to best use the humanitarian aid and expertise going to Afghanistan. "First, consult with people to determine needs at the grassroots level. We should not come up with our own list of needs and priorities," he said.

"Second, after the priority is set, see who else is doing something about it. Consult and create synergy between NGOs, the private sector, civil society, government, elders and local leaders, parliamentarians, NATO, PRTs and donors. Avoid duplication of efforts at all costs. Third, deliver efficiently and on time. Avoid waste and delays. Set clear parameters for what you are delivering. Do what you can do best," he added.

Full Text of Ambassador Jawad's Remarks (.PDF)


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