Building a College in Kabul

Johannes Brongers wants to help. So he’s going to Afghanistan to do his job in a far less tranquil environment. In June, he leaves with his wife Janet to live in Kabul and help run the American University in Afghanistan. There are only 58 students now, they hope to expand to 2000. He was interviewed by Kristin Palpini in the Amherst Bulletin this week.

“The good thing is they already have a wall around the place,” said Brongers. “the first thing you do when building in Kabul is construct a wall.” It’s dangerous indeed–this year armed attacks are up to 4,542 and more than 1,677 IED explosions have gone off since 2005. But Brongers is going anyway.

I admire this man for giving up the comfy confines of Hampshire College to venture across the world to a tough place like this. ‘It’s exciting and a big challenge,” he said, This is a thrilling opportunity, really thrilling, to build something from scratch.

“Life will be hard there,” he said. “But they need the help.