Ambassador Fatimie participates in Japan Platform/Meiji University symposium

August 29, 2013: Ambassador Dr. Sayed M. Amin Fatimie took part in a symposium at Meiji University organized by NPO Japan Platform. The symposium, entitled “Afghanistan no Ima,” or Afghanistan at Present, allowed participants to discuss the progress of the nation up to this point and future considerations. In his speech, the Ambassador spoke on the importance of media in shaping the perception of Afghanistan and the role of civil society organizations in bringing further betterment to lives.

In addition to Ambassador Dr. Fatimie, speeches were given by Secretary General Noriyuki Shina of Japan Platform and Peace Cameraman Mr. Yoichi Watanabe (pictured below). A panel discussion was then moderated by Professor Katsuhiko Harada of Meiji University, with panelists including representatives from civil society groups AAR, JEN, and Shanti, among others. In closing, comments were made by Mr. Mohammad Yasir Karimi, Second Secretary at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Tokyo. Also representing the Embassy at the event was Mr. Jason Pratt, Public Relations Officer.

The full text of the Ambassador’s speech follows below:

It is a great pleasure to be able to address all of you who have gathered here tonight. I would first of all like to express my gratitude to those who make this important evening possible. To Japan Platform, I offer my sincere appreciation for continuing to raise awareness of Afghanistan. To Meiji University, where Afghans have studied and where Afghanistan is studied, thank you truly for allowing for an educational event like this to be held here.

To Mr. Yoichi Watanabe and the distinguished panel speakers, I offer my deep gratitude for serving as bridges between Afghanistan and Japan.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Watanabe’s involvement in this event is significant. Mass media is a very powerful force in shaping the way in which people perceive the world. Considering Afghanistan, due to Mr. Watanabe’s popularity and exposure, he is one of the most central figures in determining how Japanese people view our nation. In this influential role, we request and encourage Mr. Watanabe to show balance and hope. Therefore, as peace in Afghanistan spreads further every day, we also wish to help him remove the negative connotation his nickname can bring to the nations he covers. Therefore, instead of being called Senjo – or battlefield – Cameraman, I am happy to give him the new nickname of Heiwa – or peace – Cameraman.

Regarding civil society organizations, who are represented this evening as well, their role is central in any nation. These noble organizations set forth to find the most vulnerable groups in societies. The tireless efforts of such groups has contributed to the great progress our nation has achieved. Those on the ground in Afghanistan can attest that our nation has developed greatly since 2001 and our people enjoy better lives. Still, no society should stop trying to further better the lives of its people. While we should all be proud of the accomplishments in Afghanistan made with the great partnership with peoples such as yourselves, we are committed to continuing to bring betterment and applaud the civil society organizations who endeavor to cooperate with us.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in closing allow me once again to express that I am grateful to the organizers of this event, to the participants, and to all of you in attendance. God bless you all and please engage and enjoy.