By Gabrielle Wanneh
For The Diamondback

Students, faculty and others in the University of Maryland community had an opportunity Thursday to discuss the current state and progress of Afghanistan with the country's U.S. ambassador.

The Office of International Affairs and the Honors College invited Hamdullah Mohib to this university to give a lecture on the recent developments of higher education and technology in Afghanistan. This event was a part of the university's Maryland Global Leaders Lecture Series.

Ross Lewin, the associate vice president of international affairs, said he hoped students would leave with a better understanding of Mohib's vision and the world they live in as a whole.

"It's never been more important than now to reach out to rest of the world and for the world to reach out to us," Lewin said. "It's important for international leaders that are either in Washington, D.C., or passing through to come to our campus, if they can, and talk with our students."

Recent developments have helped Afghanistan, including the Trump administration's announcement of a policy for renewed long-term engagement there, Mohib said. Additionally, Afghanistan's education system has grown through partnerships such as this university's own with the American University of Afghanistan, he said.

During the lecture, Mohib was also eager to discuss aspects of the importance of higher education systems within Afghanistan, as well as globalization.

Susan Dougherty, the director of international student scholar services, said she was thankful Mohib was able to visit the university, adding she hoped students gained a better understanding of global affairs.

"This afternoon's event was an opportunity for students to learn more about a developing higher education system and a unique opportunity to speak directly with a foreign ambassador," Dougherty said, "which I think is an excellent experience for anyone who's attending the university."

Freshman Will Kleyman, an aerospace engineering major, said he was interested in hearing more about the state of Afghanistan.

"I thought it interesting to learn about the conditions of other countries," Kleyman said. "Normally we learn about this stuff every day, and it's nice to be aware of what's going on in the world around you."

Junior Shruti Bhatt, a journalism major, also said this event opened her eyes to the importance of having a strong high education system in developing countries.

"To help the country move forward, you need to educate people and make people aware of issues that are going on," Bhatt said. "And if someone is illiterate or doesn't have an educational background, they don't really know how to comprehend those issues or the impact those issues have."