KABUL: The young Afghan Deputy Minister of Art and Culture hopes to revive the arts of a country affected by decades of war.
Based on a presidential decree, Haroon Hakimi has recently been appointed as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Information and Culture. In this position, Hakimi’s portfolio covers the culture and arts of the whole country. He received his Executive Master of Arts in National Security Affairs from IWP in 2020.
“I will do my best to revive the arts of a country affected by decades of war and forgotten for a long time. Promoting the narrative of peaceful coexistence through arts is one of my main goals for this position,” said the deputy minister.
“My goals are to preserve and protect the rich, diverse, and ancient heritage of the country, as this has been a crossroads of civilizations and a hub for the people for thousands of years.”
The young Afghan DM hoped to adjust the culture in keeping with the needs of the time, to encourage public sentiment for peace and against extremism by keeping alive people’s historical memory of the nation and their ancestors, and to enhance Afghan cultural diplomacy, as he has served in and studied that field for over a decade.
“We are a country suffering from insurgencies, and my portfolio covers the field where minds and hearts are to be targeted. I was equipped with the knowledge and strategies for being influential in that field at the IWP.”
“I sincerely thank H.E. President Ashraf Ghani for appointing me to serve as the Deputy Minister for Culture and Arts. My promise is to serve my country.”
Hakimi’s academic journey began before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and he was homeschooled for several years with the hope that one day formal schooling would begin in his province and I would be ready for it.
“Following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the U.S.-led coalition toppled the Taliban regime, and, in 2002, I set foot in a so-called classroom in a makeshift Madrasa-turned-school,” Hakimi had said in a reflection published in IWP weblog.
He went on to say that: “The school occupied a building of a Jihadist Madrasa in the Zabul province. The largest bathroom became our classroom, and we did not have any furniture, carpet, or even a blackboard. That day, a journey began for me that led me all the way to Washington through Kabul, allowing me to study in some of the best universities around the world. I achieved several well-known scholarships, including the Indian Scholarship of ICCR and American Fulbright.
Hinting at his career as the diplomat in Afghan Embassy in Washington DC, Hakimi has said: “From a humble start in Zabul to being in Washington, D.C. representing the Afghan people and the Government while continuing my education in great institutions is a privilege and honor.”