An empowered, supportive, and engaged Afghan-American community
The Afghan-American Conference is an annual nationwide conference for young community leaders to engage in meaningful dialogue, grow professionally and build relationships.
The conference is equal parts professional, cultural, spiritual, social, and personal. It is a holistic event consisting of keynote speeches, professional panels, skill-building workshops, roundtable discussions, safe space caucuses, town halls, networking mixers, entertainment, and even TED-style Talks.
To provide a forum to address issues affecting the Afghan-American community, and a platform to facilitate dialogue, collaborate, and build relationships to strengthen our diaspora.
An empowered, supportive, and engaged Afghan-American community.
The Afghan-American diaspora has historically lacked a safe space for candid discussions about the issues most pertinent to us. Traditionally, our community has come together almost exclusively in social settings, including weddings, concerts, picnics, and sports tournaments. However, none of these gatherings have been conducive to serious discussions about the state of our community. Too often, taboo topics have been swept under the proverbial Afghan rug, never to be broached or approached.
Given the impoverished state of Afghanistan, it is understandable that so much of our diaspora’s civic attention has focused on humanitarian relief for the Motherland. But in doing so, we have lost sight of our own community's struggles here in the United States. Almost every Afghan family landed in the U.S. as refugees with few resources, but many are still trapped in the same socioeconomic class. According to the “Bay Area Muslim Study” by Drs. Farid Senzai and Hatem Bazian, Afghans have the fewest households making over $100,000 among any Muslim group in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are also the least educated group, with less than half of our community having pursued higher education. The fact that we only have statistics on Bay Area Afghans, and only in relation to other Muslim ethnicities, speaks to our underrepresented status nationwide—and just how much work we have to do as a community to move forward.
A way forward
This is where the Afghan-American Conference comes into the picture. AAC provides a forum for our community to address these difficult topics in a respectful, forward-thinking manner. It is a grassroots effort at shedding light on these pressing issues, inspiring action, and activating change from within the community. We won’t be able to address everything, nor do we have the answers to almost anything. Let us get the conversation started, let us share resources, and let us find those solutions together as a community.