Afghan Speaker Youounus Qanooni Visit
SUNY/CID NEWS STORIES 2007
On October 29, Yunus Qanooni, the Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, spoke on "The Democratization of Afghanistan" to a standing room only audience at the University at Albany. This speech was the culmination of his visit to Albany and Washington, DC from October 23-29, 2007. Speaker Qanooni was joined on his trip by two distinguished Afghan Parliamentarians, Mrs. Seddiqa Mubarez and Mr. Mohammad Naiem Farahi, and Mr. Rahimullah Ghalib, the Wolesi Jirga's Chief of Staff. Speaker Quanooni met representatives from UAlbany's Rockefeller College to discuss modalities for launching the Afghanistan Parliamentary Institute (API) under a joint academic exchange program. While in Washington, Speaker Quanooni visited his counterpart in the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, USAID's Administrator and the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman. He also made a presentation at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Speaker Qanooni discussed the creation of the Afghan Parliament, and its role in strengthening Afghanistan's nascent democracy, noting that: "Democracy has been recognized as a successful idea and a successful experience. We accept democracy as a way and a path and we learned this from our friends in the West Democracy has had a long route in Afghanistan; for the first time in the 200 years of history the people of Afghanistan have seen a transition of power by their own will. For the first time in the history of Afghanistan, we witnessed the formation of a government that was the will of the people."