August 19, 2021

Statement of Peace for Afghanistan

We at Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy are filled with heartache, watching the human tragedy unfold in Afghanistan. While our organization does not directly shape diplomatic outcomes, through our programs and citizen diplomacy, we strive to create mutual understanding and respect between the people of Utah and other nations one handshake, one meal, and one conversation at a time by inviting global business, government, religious, and nonprofit leaders to our state. 

By inviting international visitors to Utah, our local community increases respect for our international guests and the diverse perspectives they share. Furthermore, they heighten their awareness of personal and social responsibility, recognize that people worldwide are interconnected, and engage in open and respectful dialogue. 

By hosting international visitors, we shape public discourse that results in a more caring and welcoming community than the day before, as evident by the fact that our community has spoken out that "refugees are welcome here."

Unfortunately, the conflict in Afghanistan hits close to home not only for our team, but also for the many people we have welcomed from Afghanistan to Utah. These individuals are engaged in the essential endeavor of building up Afghanistan's civil society. The rise of the Taliban poses a direct threat to their work but, more importantly, their lives. 

We condemn in the strongest terms possible the mistreatment of our fellow human beings, and we urge all people, their nations, and their leaders to turn to diplomacy during these challenging times and pursue peace.

We also strongly encourage the people of Utah and the United States not to feel hopeless as there are three simple action steps you can take today that will make a significant difference for tomorrow:

First, contact your Utah representative and senators to let them know you support refugee resettlement and ask them to increase resettlement numbers. 

Second, gain as much education and understanding as you can about the situation in Afghanistan. Start by watching our World Affairs Lecture hosted last fall titled Pursuing Sustainable and Inclusive Peace in Afghanistan

Third, Utah has led the nation in welcoming refugees to our state. Help support the work of the nonprofits that resettle and provide services that help refugees thrive. Visit the Utah Refugee Services Office and explore ways you can support today.

Globally, 
Felecia Maxfield-Barrett
Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy