From Afghanistan to Argentina: international academic partnership

08 Dec 2017
Alumni Team Chevening Secretariat

In December 2017, the World Trade Organization will be hosting their 11th ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. To celebrate the event, the Ministry of Trade in Argentina are hosting a 'Think Track' alongside the conference to showcase thought leaders in the fields of international trade and commerce. By getting in touch with their Chevening officer in Argentina and the Chevening Secretariat in London, the two organisers (Chevening Alumni) were able to use the global Chevening network to call for papers and panel proposals. One of the winners of the competition was a paper by Ms Diwa Samad, co-authored by Chevening Alumnus Sayed Ramin Ziwary (2015, Afghanistan).

We asked Ramin a few questions to get to know him better, and asked him and Diwa (presenter and lead author of the paper) to give us an insight into their work.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and your background before applying for Chevening?

I am a medical doctor from Afghanistan, born and raised mostly in the country. Prior to applying for Chevening, I was busy working as a research assistant and conducting a clinical internship at Taksim German Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey.

2. Why did you apply for Chevening?

The main motivation for me to apply for Chevening was to become a member of the noble Chevening community, mostly consisting of global leaders and professionals from a variety of fields.

3. Tell us a bit about your Chevening year.

I carried out my master's in Bangor, which is a small student town in North Wales. During my time in the UK, I had the opportunity to get to know some amazing people and share some wonderful experiences.

4. What are you doing now that you’re back in Afghanistan?

After returning back to Afghanistan earlier this year, I started working at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff under the Administrative Office of the Afghan President. My current job involves working closely with health sector to ensure delivery of quality health to the Afghan population.

5. A paper you’ve contributed to is being presented at the MC11 Think Track Conference by your colleague, Ms. Diwa Samad. How did you both find out about this opportunity?

Sayed Ramin Ziwary: I found out about the conference through Chevening Connect. As the main goal of the conference was to receive papers recommending changes for the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) scope of work, I shared this opportunity with my colleague, Diwa Samad, whose research field is economic development and trade.

6. Can you give us a brief summary of the paper?

Diwa Samad: The paper (entitled ‘’Illicit drug trade: the forgotten side of trade governance’’) focuses on the narcotics trade, which is one of Afghanistan's and the region's major challenges, jeopardising global development and peace efforts. 

7. What impact do you hope that the research will have in Afghanistan?

We believe that embarking on an appropriate measure to effectively counter illicit trade will enhance Afghanistan’s legitimate economic activities, reduce corruption and enhance the effectiveness of global development assistance to the country. Ultimately, it will also reduce money laundering and terrorism that is being fuelled by illicit profit paradox of this kind.

 8. What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

We are looking forward to drawing  international attention to the disastrous implications of narcotics trade to Afghanistan, the region and the globe on the economy, security and stability.

We hope to raise the importance of addressing illicit drug trade in the era of globalization and call on international stakeholders to integrate fragmented efforts in this area and jointly work to address this challenge.