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Tourism in Afghanistan? Challenges and Opportunities

Tourism in Afghanistan? Challenges and Opportunities

Date and time: Thursday, October 15, 2020, 6 to 7 pm British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Register here.

Can tourism and war coexist? Is it crazy to think of Afghanistan as the world’s next hottest tourist destination?

ISHKAR and Avyanna propose a discussion on what tourism in Afghanistan by foreign visitors might look like in the near future.

We will explore what that might look like from a tourist’s perspective and what they might view as reasons to explore the country…or not. Their potential expectations, misgivings, and needs are all relevant issues to brainstorm as well as what Afghanistan itself can expect from a budding tourist sector.

A rich panel of experts, both Afghan and international, will give their contributions to this discussion.


  • Ramin Atiqzada – Director of Tourism for the GOIRA Ministry of Information and Culture. Ramin has previously served as Head of the Special Training Department of the Civil Service Institute. He most recently served as Head of Tourism Research, Development, and Marketing for the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management at the Ministry of Information and Culture. He still works there as a lecturer on Tourism Marketing.
  • Sultan Faizy – Los Angeles Times Special Correspondent. Sultan has spent more than a decade as producer and journalist for some of the US’ most respected media outlets including the Associated Press, National Public Radio, and currently the Los Angeles Times where he is a Special Correspondent for Afghanistan-related news.
  • Flore de Taisne – ISHKAR Co-Founder. Flore has worked for Samuel Hall in Afghanistan, consulted for organizations like the UN and the World Bank, and worked for the French Embassy in Damascus. Flore has traveled widely across the Middle East and Central Asia and traveled across Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan by foot and by horse in 2012. She is listed on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list for Social Entrepreneurship.


  • Samina Ansari – Avyanna Diplomacy Founder and CEO. Samina has worked on Afghanistan’s transition since 2014 through the UN Foundation, NATO, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and a number of academic, research and rule of law organizations. She launched Avyanna Diplomacy as a way to change the conversation around Afghanistan towards one that explores its potential and provides opportunities for Afghans to connect with the global market. Samina is especially interested in promoting Afghanistan’s natural and cultural splendor to the world.
  • Elliott Memmi – Avyanna Diplomacy Consultant. Elliott is a freelancer and currently editor for DROPS’ 2020 Women and Public Policy Journal (a UN Women-funded publication showcasing research by Afghan women). He is also producing research and analysis on EU smart city models and EU international development. He has worked previously with Samina on Afghanistan-related research and op-eds and continues this partnership as her consultant for her latest undertaking: Avyanna Diplomacy.

About the Hosts:

  • Avyanna Diplomacy is a new business dedicated to promoting Afghanistan’s socio-economic potential and connecting the country to foreign markets and institutions. It currently seeks to promote the work of Afghan businesses dedicated to Afghan artisanal crafts and cultural products that can raise international awareness of Afghanistan’s unique value.
  • ISHKAR – From Afghanistan to Mali, conflict and insecurity has left countries isolated from international trade and tourism. ISHKAR Explore is a social enterprise founded in 2019 to restore pathways to these countries by offering group tours to regions impacted by war. In doing so we aim to change one-sided narratives, creating economic opportunities where desperately needed.

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