Omar Ahmadi, 26
I was born in 1996 during the dark days of the Taliban’s first regime in Afghanistan. My father was the Kabul Bureau’s chef for The New York Times. When the family was in the most difficult economic situation, my father could have sent us to do hard labor to support the family, but he chose to educate us instead. My life path was shaped by his choice.
My brothers, little sister and I all went to school. After graduating from high school and earning an associate degree in technology, I decided I wanted to study international relations and diplomacy, to try to understand what was going on in my country in the name of war and terrorism.
My dream was for my homeland to move toward the light of peace and prosperity. It is a dream shared by thousands of my classmates in Afghanistan.
To help support the family, I worked with a telecommunications company in Afghanistan during the day, and went to university in the evening. I remember staying awake until late at night to study, and then waking up early in the morning to go to work. It was a difficult time, but the dream of a better tomorrow motivated me to work hard.
Then, in August of last year, everything collapsed. Despite the 20-year journey of fighting against the Taliban, my family and I had to emigrate for our lives.
I graduated from university in exile. I had my diploma in hand, but I had lost my homeland.
Whatever happens, I still hope and believe in a better tomorrow for my homeland, so I will continue my education. As a student of international relations, I have learned that regimes like the Taliban that impose themselves on nations will not last long. From my understanding of the contemporary history of Afghanistan, it is clear to me that these times in history are passing, and people will one day decide their own destinies again.