Submitted by Maria Elena Barrón, USAID/Afghanistan

Senator John Kerry at the USAID embassy in Kabul in Afghanistan. Photo credit: USAID/Afghanistan

Senator John Kerry, the Chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, visited Afghanistan this past weekend. While at the US Embassy Kabul on Sunday May 15, he took twenty minutes between meetings to address the participants of USAID’s “Democracy and Governance Fundamentals” during the morning’s launch of the course.  The surprise visit let participating USAID, State, and US Military Officers from across Afghanistan hear the Senator underline democratic principles and answer their questions on US-Afghanistan relations.  Senator Kerry highlighted Afghanistan’s democratic advances, Afghans’ need to uphold good governance, and the required patience to strengthen Afghanistan’s own democracy. He encouraged the Afghan participants to be mindful and always stay the course despite democratic setbacks.

The Democracy and Governance Fundamentals five-day course will teach the 25 participants USAID’s Democracy and Governance Strategic Assessment Framework as well as how to use a conflict lens on the four democracy and governance sub-sectors: 1) Rule of Law; 2) Elections and Political Processes; 3) Civil Society and Media; and 4) Good Governance and Anticorruption. The program concludes the afternoon of Thursday May 19.