Kabul Photo Biennale 2nd Edition, "Rebirth" | School children ©Zahra Sadat Mousawi

Thematic Area 3: The Afghanistan Translation Movement

This thematic area aims to start a knowledge movement in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Translation Movement takes its name from the Islamic Golden Age (8th to 13th century) which is traditionally understood to have begun during the reign of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid with the inauguration of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, where scholars from various parts of the world with different cultural backgrounds were mandated to gather and translate all the world's classical knowledge into the Arabic and Persian languages.

The translation of books has been over-looked during the post conflict era in Afghanistan. In a country making concerted efforts to raise its low literacy rates, books are difficult to come by for those who are seeking to increase their level of literacy, as well as for those who are literate. University students’ access to the classics of literature and science is limited.  Translations into Dari or Pashto of university textbooks are rare or non-existent. If the country is to build a strong and well-rooted national identity, it must make available to its citizens the sources of universal knowledge. The first step would be to invite recognized Afghan scholars for discussion on how to move forward in this area, and thus establish a road map for the Translation Movement.

The Afghanistan Translation Movement should irradiate to the other thematic areas of the NPCE.  It will be a tangible support to the “right to culture” and to the improvement of the quality of higher education. In consonance with the ANPDF, it will contribute to building a national identity around the idea of cultural diversity by contributing to the wealth of the two national languages.

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