Portal to Perspectives

A golden shipping container at 3622 N St. NW that provides a direct video link to artists, students and citizens at Hariwa Univeristy in Herat, Afghanistan will serve as a way for Georgetown students and Washington, D.C. residents alike to schedule an appointment and converse with Afghans from April 8 to 17.

Each conversation, assigned a 15-minute slot, opens with the question, “What would make today a good day?”

Conceived by the artist Amar C. Bakshi and his collective Shared_Studios, this is an unconventional look into the world that should be embraced by Georgetown students in the interests of international education.

This project is unique in that it allows us to depart from the concept of the war-ravaged nation that news articles depict, and instead allows Americans and Afghans to share a few words and learn firsthand what life is like halfway across the world.

There are few better ways to learn a country’s culture than talking with the people that experience the culture every day.

As a school that prides itself as a haven for international studies, Georgetown needs to encourage projects like this and expand ways to have dialogue with, not only study, regions and countries around the world.

The project comes off the success of another portal last year by Shared_Studios connecting people in New York with their counterparts in Tehran. Iran and the United States, depicted as enemies in the media, partook in similar conversations through this portal.

Hatred and ignorance can be overcome through simple conversation, allowing participants to uncover commonalities that are grossly overshadowed by the differences highlighted by politicians and media outlets.

Such is the objective of Bakshi’s project, an honorable goal that deserves our utmost attention.

It is easy to fall into the abyss of endless work that engulfs Georgetown students during this time of year.

However, taking 15 minutes out of the day between classes to talk to people in a country that Americans have heard so much about but have difficulty understanding objectively because of the media is an opportunity no one on campus should pass up.

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