In my last article, I mentioned watching a video about an IT employee working in Germany. What I should also have mentioned was that this person is Eva Maria Hoffman, a member of the Center of International and Intercultural Communication (Ziik) at the Technical University of Berlin, and a supporter of the Film Annex initiatives in Afghanistan. Since 2002, Ziik has been working on establishing IT infrastructure and education in the Afghan higher education system—a similar goal to Film Annex's own Afghan Development Project. As a woman working in a country other than America, Eva Hoffman has a perspective on Film Annex's mission that I haven't seen in the other interviews I've screened.
In addition to the bit I mentioned in my previous article (about how her company is just starting to make their way into social media and digital communication outside of email), here are a few other points she made that I found particularly interesting:
-Her goal in Germany and Afghanistan is to bring students of both cultures together and stimulate discussion between the two cultures. Since 2001, she has focused on bringing IT infrastructure to Afghanistan, and actually spent time in 2005 teaching at the University of Herat.
-On technology's impact on developing countries: “Technology is always around us. In countries like Afghanistan...where communication is very important but banned out of public life, such new ways [ie digital media] offer a lot of possibilities and of course influence and impact the life there.”
-Hoffman believe that social media helps people connect to the world, and overall that is a good thing. However, “it needs to be adapted to the culture, but I am sure [social media] is they way forward and I think it is very important to promote that, not to keep [developing countries] from the opportunity to be connected.”
-On the Afghan Development project: “It is very important that we give this opportunity to Afghanistan, so I really appreciate the initiative I think it is a very interesting initiative. And to raise awareness about it and to offer it [to] young children, it is very important.”
-On the difference between European and Afghan students: “I think there is not so much difference. We are all growing up, we are all young, and we have visions and things which motivate us for life. In Afghanistan, the students there, for them it is a privilege to go to school so they are often much more motivated. And they can see how the country has been destroyed, so they are much more motivated to help in the reconstruction of the country. I would say here we are more focused on our individual goals, while there is much more of a community and community thinking.”
It's this last point that really interests me. As an American who has grown up with an individualistic mindset, I am drawn to the idea of community growth and cooperative learning. Now that they have the opportunity to go to school, learn and enter global society, I'm excited for those in the Afghan education system. Their unique approach to learning, with a focus on the group instead of individual enterprise, could have a positive impact on all of us.
To view other articles and videos recommended by Sarah Grace, visit http://www.filmannex.com/SarahGrace.