Stories Worth Telling: USAID in Afghanistan

| July 16, 2018

253. Co-educational classroom with CU Ed Team members, Herat“‎I know you’re still young but I want you to understand and learn this now. Marriage can wait, education cannot. You’re a very very bright girl. Truly you are. You can be anything you want, Laila. I know this about you. And I also know that when this war is over Afghanistan is going to need you as much as its men maybe even more. Because a society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated, Laila. No chance — Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007)

While referring  to the problem of education for girls in Afghanistan, this passage underlines the importance of education for all, regardless of gender, wherever the circumstances, but especially in times of trauma, including war. Since overthrowing the Taliban in 2001, the United States has poured millions of dollars into education there, building on a significant history of effort where Teachers College, Columbia University was central. It is no myth that changes in government affect changes in curriculum and that clues to understanding history and political ideology lie in the heart of school textbooks, key source of pedagogical practice. 237. Primary school boy at a felt board demonstrating math k

Did you known that for 25 years, from 1954 to 1978, Teachers College was deeply involved with Afghanistan, working under the United States foreign aid program, to help Afghans build a modern educational system — the largest international education project Teachers College ever engaged with? During this time curriculum was written both in Dari and Pashtu. And that in the early 2000’s, Teachers College returned to Afghanistan to engage in a special project led by former Tehran Hostage Barry Rosen, to revise and update curriculum materials?

165. Math facts chart featuring numerals and ducks, Mazar-i-Recently the Gottesman Libraries’ resources on Afghanistan expanded to include digitalized images of the Teachers College USAID (United States Agency for International Development) project. The Dr. Lonie Rudd Collection contains approximately 300 2×2 inch mounted Kodachrome 35mm slides that relate directly to these activities. They depict many of the faculty involved, the various sites where the Team traveled to conduct Professional Development workshops, the Afghan education officials involved with the program, Kabul University pre-service teachers, local teachers in rural schools, and more. The Afghanistan Education slide collection was made by Dr. Lonie Edgard Rudd in Afghanistan, 1964-1968, while he worked for the Teachers College Columbia University USAID Program for teacher education. A mathematics teacher and veteran of both the Second World War and the Korean War, Dr. Rudd led distinguished service on many fronts. 259. Afghan educators and Marion Hunsacker, members of the C

Look through the slides and you’ll discover unique pictures of co-educational classrooms, as well as girls’ classes; Teachers College Columbia University Team Members in a poppy field outside Herat; officials examining a weaving loom at a school in Mazar-i-Sharif; Lonie Rudd biking through the snow with an umbrella on his way to Kabul university; school construction sites in Helmand Province, and much, much more — a rich and fascinating telling of professional experience in a landlocked mountainous country with a long history of tribal warfare and internecine feuding and one fractured by politics, corruption, and other critical issues.

166. School bell brought indoors for the night, Mazar-i-SharWith many sincere thanks to family members Krista and Larry Rudd, who scanned, uploaded, and described items in the Dr. Lonie Rudd Collection, we are pleased to announce this collection which is available via Pocketknowedge, the social, digital archive of Teachers College, Columbia University.

For more details on accessing the archives, see here.

Images from the Dr. Lonie Rudd Collection, US AID Afghanistan Education Photographs, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries, Teachers College, Columbia University

  • Photo 253. Co-Educational Classroom with Teachers College Columbia University Education Team members, Herat
  • Photo 237. Primary School Boy at a Felt Board Demonstrating Math
  • Photo 165. Math Facts Chart Featuring Numerals and Ducks, Mazar-i-Shar
  • Photo 259. Afghan Educators and Marion Hunsacker, Members of the Teachers College, Columbia University Team
  • Photo 166. School Bell Brought Indoors for the Night, Mazar-i-Shar