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Oct 09 2019 - 10:16am
Today in History: First Presidential Election in Afghanistan


You might be interested to learn that Teachers College, Columbia University has a rich history of involvement in Afghanistan. Our faculty first went there in 1954 to re-organize the Ministry of Education; create and provide new textbooks in both the Dari and Pashto languages; and train teachers -- a significant educational effort that lasted roughly 25 years until the revolution and influence of the Taliban, the Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization. In the early 2000's, Teachers College went back, working on a new project headed by former Iran-held hostage and TC Head of Development and External Affairs Barry Rosen; retired TC Professor Margaret Jo Shepherd; and a group of Afghan Canadians; they built a new child-centered, culturally-sensitive curriculum in Afghanistan with child-centered pedagogy and textbooks, in collaboration with Afghan counterparts in the Ministry of Education. It is no mistake that changes in government are reflected in education, evident in the very process and products of learning.


After months of deliberations, the first presidential elections in Afghanistan were held on October 9th, 2004. Voters went to the polls and chose Harmid Karzai, son of the chief Popalzai Pashtuns, who served as interim president since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001 and following the U.S. dominated military campaign aimed at the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Karzai won 21 of the 34 provinces; he defeated 22 opponents to become the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan in a safe, multi-ethnic election, despite fears of violence and insurgency.


Following Karzai's election, an investigation by the United Nations proved him to be the winner, regardless of voting irregularities, for he achieved over 55% of the vote.


The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

















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