In this issue we bring you a similar kind of story of grit and courage that is being played out in the mountains of Kabul. Sima Azimi is Afghanistan’s first female trainer of Wushu, an ancient Chinese martial art form that she picked up while her family lived as refugees in Iran. Sima would watch martial arts movies and honed her skills without formal training. Today, a group of young women aged 14 to 20 meet each week donning pink robes and white jihab. Irrespective of the weather or unmindful of the harassment they face, the group trains in Wushu, wielding swords that rhythmically slice through space. We have an interview with H.E. Dr Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that focuses primarily on women’s empowerment. He tells us that the Afghanistan Government is committed to improving women’s status in all spheres of life. Quite rightly he also believes that educating a girl not only amounts to educating the entire family, but the entire nation as well.
Beyond Afghanistan and much further west on the Mediterranean, there is a meeting of minds between India and Tunisia. Like many in his country, Tunisia’s new Ambassador to India, H.E. Mr Nejmeddine Lakhal, learnt about India mainly through cinema and books during his younger days. This is the first time that he’s actually in India, but is already fascinated by the nation’s cultural fabric that “changes every 50 km” offering an attractive diversity that is hard to miss.