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(May 23, 2002, Gazette)

Grenfell profs donate books
To Kabul with love

During the last four weeks, professors at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College have been contributing academic textbooks to a growing pile that will be on its way to Kabul University, Afghanistan.

Under the Taliban regime that was overthrown a few months ago, secular learning was discouraged. In fact, young women were forbidden from attending school and even forbidden from learning to read and write. As part of the Taliban anti-intellectual philosophy, the Kabul University Library, the main repository of knowledge in Afghanistan, was ransacked. For example, the library copy of the Columbia Encyclopedia has so many bullet holes through it that it is unreadable.

Education is a vital part of the reconstruction of Afghan society, bringing it back from the Middle Ages to the present-day world. There are many eager young Afghani men and women wanting to train to become the doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals that their country desperately needs. With classes having now resumed at Kabul University for the first time in many years, it is important that the library once more becomes a source of information.

It was as a result of this need that faculty at Grenfell College has been donating books to help restock the shelves of Kabul University Library with up-to-date textbooks in the sciences, mathematics, the social sciences, medicine and the humanities. To ensure the books arrive safely, they are being shipped to the office of the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Islamabad, Pakistan, and UNESCO will ensure their delivery to the Kabul University Library.