map of afghanistan

SIR hosts town hall on Afghanistan

A panel discussion on Afghanistan’s past, present, and future

In this semester’s town hall the panelists Dr. Benjamin Hopkins, Dr. Trita Parsi, and Dr. William Nomikos shared their valuable perspectives on Afghanistan’s past, present, and future for an audience of around 50 virtual and in-person attendees. Topics covered included relevant history of Afghanistan, American and international approaches to intervention, and women’s rights in the country. After forty minutes, the audience fielded questions towards the panelists that referenced China’s role in Afghanistan and the region, common misconceptions about the war, and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Overall, this discussion was highly informative and insightful concerning the recent situation in Afghanistan, providing unique and valuable perspectives on the circumstances surrounding the build up to, implications of,  and aftermath of the war in Afghanistan. 


Panelist Bios:

Professor Benjamin Hopkins, PhD

Benjamin Hopkins is an associate professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University. Dr. Hopkins specializes in the history of Afghanistan, British imperialism, and the history of the South Asian subcontinent. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited numerous books on these topics, including The Making of Modern Afghanistan (2008), Fragments of the Afghan Frontier (2012), and Beyond Swat: History, Society, and Economy Along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier (2013). Dr. Hopkins has received fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations, the National University of Singapore, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC. He has directed the Sigur Center for Asian Studies since 2016.

Trita Parsi, PhD

Trita Parsi is an award-winning author and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign policy, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. In 2021, he was named by the Washingtonian Magazine as one of the 50 most influential voices on foreign policy in Washington DC. Parsi has followed Middle East politics through work in the field and extensive experience on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. He is frequently consulted by Western and Asian governments on foreign policy matters. Parsi has worked for the Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN, where he served in the Security Council, handling the affairs of Afghanistan, Iraq, Tajikistan and Western Sahara, and in the General Assembly's Third Committee, addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq.

Professor William Nomikos, PhD

William Nomikos, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at WashU. He mainly focuses on peacekeeping operations around the world, as he founded the Data-driven Analysis of Peace Project which includes comprehensive data on a collection of UN peacekeeping missions within Africa in the last two decades. His research also focuses on politics within countries experiencing conflict; he recently published several articles on the situation in Afghanistan in The Hill and WashU’s The Source. At WashU, he is also involved with the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity.