Abdul Maruf Khalid's story: a background in development with hopes to bring knowledge home and improve environmental issues in Afghanistan

October 9, 2018

What is your professional and educational background, and what brought you to MESPOM?

I am currently a student of the first year of the MESPOM at CEU, and a graduate of the civil engineering faculty of the Kabul University. After graduation from Kabul University for the first two years I worked as structural engineer, and had opportunity to design some projects for Group Energies Renewables, Environment et Solidarites (GERES) a French development Organization assists in the reconstruction of Afghanistan by disseminating energy efficient techniques firstly in public buildings (hospitals and government offices), learning about energy efficiency and use of renewable energy motivated me to research more on environmental issues which could be addressed by applying engineering measures, then I transitioned to USAID funded programs and worked with USAID Afghanistan for almost five years, where I was mainly involved in environmental management, design and implementation of major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. 

I also worked for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank funded project in the field of Environmental and Social Safeguard. despite working with different national and international organization and familiarity with their environmental rules, regulations and policies, it was my great ambition to study and explore my knowledge in the field of environmental science policy and management. I was searching the universities websites quite often so, one of my American colleagues told me about the MESPOM program and I found it very unique and interesting as it is run by four European leading universities and two North American prestigious institutions, and most important that program focuses not only on environmental science but also on policy and management.

How does/how do you expect MESPOM to impact your life?

MESPOM has not only provided me the opportunity to build my professional career but also offered me a chance to develop and participate in activities to engage in the student community. This has been facilitated by a student-driven group at Central European University in Budapest, the Sustainable Campus Initiative, and it is a super fun way to learn about different cultures, explore Europe, and get different perspectives on international environmental issues.

What are your future plans after MESPOM?

Afghanistan is a defenseless state regarding environmental degradation, climatic and geological hazards and disasters. The major destructive aspect of environment degradation is due to the three decades of war, lack of the rule of law, environmental knowledge on science and policies, natural resources management and public awareness on environmental issues. In 2013, for the first-time Faculty of Environmental Science was officially established in Kabul University and there is great need for qualified academic faculty.

Considering the above-mentioned problems my future plan is to serve my country in the field of environmental sciences and policy also share my knowledge with the environmental science faculty students.

This current student story was written by Abdul Maruf Khalid (October 2016) during his first semester in Budapest.'18