On April 11th, the FES Young Leaders Forum 2020-21 met with the H.E Rula (Bibi Gul) Ghani, the First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The young leaders and the first lady exchanged views on the Afghan Peace Process, the lessons learned from the first round of negotiations in Doha, and the efforts of the first lady’s office in strengthening women and youths' presence in the peace process.
H.E Rula (Bibi Gul) Ghani welcomed the young leaders and emphasized the importance of empowering the young generation with training and skill development in different fields; this could help the transition into a new era of a peaceful and advanced society.
Discussing the peace and negotiation process in Doha, the First Lady stated that "there is no doubt that people want peace. For long the Afghans have suffered, and there is no other way to settle war other than peace". She added that in Afghanistan's case, there are more than just two parties who have interests in this process and it’s essential to identify their goals. Asked by the YLFees about recent updated on the peace process, she stated that the Doha negotiations are important for the delegations to understand each other’s and stakeholders’ interests, particularly regarding the question whether the Taliban want peace. Afterwards, the discussion centered around the constitution, which gives space to various ethnicities and groups by supporting and protecting their rights. It acknowledges the rights of men and women as equal, and it stands for free and fair elections. She emphasized that a regime that wouldn’t protect and preserve the rights of the people could lead again to war and disputes and that – in order to learn from the past – the government remains committed to protecting democratic values and citizens' socio-political rights. The first lady expressed that her office is open to everyone interested in consultations – particularly women and youth groups.
Irfanullah Shinwari is a member of the 2020/21 Young Leaders Forum.