In this Global Classroom, Honors College students at UMD and students at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul will examine the history of Afghanistan, its political figures, and the empires that attempted to rule the country. Students will also learn about Afghanistan’s turbulent modern history, including the Soviet occupation, the Afghan civil war, and the Taliban era. Students will then analyze in detail the U.S. foreign policy decisions that followed the events of September 11, 2001. This includes key policy decisions such as how the country should be governed, the selection of Afghanistan’s leader, the role and mission of the international community, the adoption of a new Constitution, and the establishment of a new democratic system of government.
To better understand the issues and policies from the indigenous perspective, this course will take part in a number of unique collaborations. First, students at UMD and AUAF will come together to conduct a joint research project. This will be accomplished by pairing UMD students with their counterparts at AUAF and having each group communicate directly and frequently through Skype, Facebook, and e-mail. The students will then present their research and findings to the entire class. Second, students at UMD will have the opportunity to hear directly from faculty at AUAF through live lectures on subjects such as history, politics, women’s issues, and current affairs. Third, students at UMD will hear firsthand from current and former government officials on the lessons learned in developing and implementing policies and programs in the areas of reconstruction assistance, including efforts to combat narcotics and corruption. Finally, the course will either culminate in a videconference OR include several videoconferencing sessions between the students at UMD and AUAF. The two-hour videoconference(s) will allow the students to engage in a frank and candid dialogue about the successes and challenges over the past 13 years and to share their personal views about the mission and the future of US-Afghan relations.