International Politics and Journalism Personal Statement

Sample International Politics and Journalism

I am unquestionably an intellectual product of my background. My Afghan antecedents have driven me towards an all-consuming passion for analysing the complex political entanglements of my home country and bringing them to the public’s attention through embracing digital media. The ultimate consequence of this for me has been that I have two principal passions: international politics and journalism.

From the seeds of examining the specifities of the political dynamics of Afghanistan I have developed a much broader interest in political science. Notwithstanding the period of the Iraq war, Afghanistan has been the principal focus of the international community’s attention for over a decade now. Those who take an interest in the country are highly conscious of the unique confluence of international and domestic political questions to be found in Afghanistan. For example, attempts to build a democratic Afghanistan have given rise to weighty issues such as the development of institutions that guarantee stability, the fight against corruption and attempts to balance the often conflicting rights and needs of different social actors and ethnicities. What has struck me most about examining events in Afghanistan is that without the conceptual political tools to help make sense of these issues and place them into proper perspective it is so easy to run the risk of simplifying or distorting them.

My main outlet for dissecting Afghanistan’s politics has been through my digital journalism output, which has always been driven by the goals of raising awareness and offering nuanced and insightful analysis of Afghanistan’s political and social affairs. I founded and continue to run the website Republic of Silence, which has grown in popularity since it was launched in 2009 to become one of the top news resources on the web for Afghanistan. The task of running the site has given me an incredible on-the-job introduction to the skills of journalism and the media, from developing contacts with journalists in the country, sourcing important stories, commissioning and also authoring articles that provide a thorough analysis of political developments in the country and ensuring the site complies with the highest journalistic ethics. It is a privilege to be involved in contributing to developing a culture of free speech in a country that has for so long struggled against restrictions on civil liberties. Prior to founding Republic of Silence I was the Editor of the website of the Civil Movement of Afghanistan, a pro-democracy political party. This position was a highly rewarding introduction to the world of digital media, through which I learnt its power to provide a voice to a political movement.

In addition to my work as a journalist I also engage in Afghan politics and society through other methods. For example, I founded the World Hazara Council, an online body that seeks to bring together Hazara people from around the world and keep them involved with political developments in Afghanistan. I manage the website of a high school in Kabul, which I put to use in part to run fundraising campaigns for the school. I also take pride in the important role I have played within the UK Afghan community since 2003, especially with regard to the help and mentoring I have given to young Afghans as they face the challenges of adapting to life here.

I really enjoy the academic side of my life, which at present takes the form of completing a BTEC Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production and professional development courses in web design. Aside from the great reward of learning a wide range of creative skills, I have particularly enjoyed participating in lectures, seminars and group activities, not to mention carrying out research in my own time and working independently on coursework projects. Indeed, my current studies make me exceptionally enthusiastic about immersing myself in undergraduate studies.

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