Stevens hosts conference on rebuilding Afghanistan, Oct. 3-5

October 02, 2003

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Stevens Institute of Technology will host a three-day International Planning Conference for the Empowerment of Afghan Professionals, to discuss the Institute's role in helping to rebuild Afghanistan, as well as to consider many of the pressing issues regarding the nation's economic infrastructure. Stevens is co-sponsoring the conference with the Society of Afghan Engineers (SAE) and the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations. Officials of Stevens, the SAE, and numerous dignitaries of the Afghan and US governments and their diplomatic corps will participate. The SAE, under the leadership of Abdul Hadi Rakin, consists of approximately 500 members in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Stevens to contribute to positive outcomes in Afghanistan," said Dr. George P. Korfiatis, dean of Stevens' Schaefer School of Engineering. "Stevens has a long and distinguished record of educational collaboration with the Afghan people, and we look forward to renewing and energetically pursuing that relationship."

The conference will be held on the Stevens campus in the fourth-floor Bissinger Room of the Wesley J. Howe Center, one block east of Castle Point Terrace and 8th Street in Hoboken, N.J. Members of the press are welcome to attend throughout. For full schedule, directions and other information, please call the News Service contact listed above the headline.

During this important international gathering of scholars, professionals, and business leaders, presentations are scheduled by Afghan government officials, Afghan and American scholars, representatives of international institutions, as well as companies involved in the rebuilding of infrastructure in Afghanistan. It is expected that this international conference will create an environment for various public and private firms in the US to network and exchange knowledge and perspectives with Afghan policymakers, government leaders, and Afghan professionals for potential business opportunities in Afghanistan.

The initial plenary session of the conference, considering "Policy, Planning, Rules and Regulations," will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4th, with welcoming remarks from Stevens President Harold J. Raveché, followed by an opening statement from Abdul Hadi Rakin, P.E., President of the SAE. Representatives from Afghanistan who will speak include H.E. Sherief Fayez, Minister of Higher Education; H.E. Abdullah Ali, Minister of Public Works; Hon. Mangal Hussein, Minister of the Afghan Diaspora; and Hon. Ravan Farhadi, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations.

Among the United States Government policy makers who will make presentations are Hon. Zalmay Khalilzad, American Ambassador to Afghanistan; and Hon. Ambassador William B. Taylor, Jr., Afghanistan Coordinator, US State Department.

The afternoon session will feature a selection of scholarly presentations from Afghan and American experts, concerning Afghan recovery and reconstruction. Among the presenters: Dr. M. Ishaq Nadiri, Jay Gould Professor of Economics, New York University and senior economic advisor to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan; and Dr. Rubin, professor of international relations, New York University. The Sunday morning session will consider themes related to "Afghanistan's Infrastructure Projects and Secondary and Higher Education."

Afternoon presentations will include talks by Dr. Korfiatis, regarding the reconstruction of the University of Kabul's School of Engineering, which was founded in the 1960s with the help of Stevens officials and faculty; and by Stevens' Dr. Edward A. Friedman, one of those who helped to found the School of Engineering in Kabul; and who, with his wife, Arline J. Lederman, has had a long and illustrious record of helping to improve education at all levels for the Afghan people, as well as having many personal connections to the Afghan nation.

The decision to locate the present conference at Stevens was made July 25 at a meeting of Stevens officials and members of the New York City Chapter of the SAE, at the which the SAE Chairman was present. The meeting was instigated by a New Jersey City University Computer Science Professor Jahnbaz Almas, a SAE member who has had a nearly 20-year professional relationship with Stevens. Dr. Almas assisted during the hosting at Stevens this past summer of a group of Afghan women science and mathematics professors, courtesy of a State Department grant. During their time at Stevens for training in Internet and video education technologies, the women made known to Stevens officials the many needs for infrastructure rebuilding in their country, to allow for the advancement of education and the general welfare of the Afghan people. Members of the SAE have generously contributed their time and resources to assemble this international discussion of positive steps to ensure a brighter future for Afghanistan.
Established in 1870, Stevens offers baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science, management and technology management, as well as a baccalaureate in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. The university, located directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan, has a total enrollment of about 1,740 undergraduates and 2,600 graduate students. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at

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