about mary ann

Mary Ann Callahan worked in Afghanistan from 2003-2012, living for a large portion of that time independently among Afghans, in Afghan neighborhoods and connecting to the local population on a personal as well as official level. Her most important role was to develop and administer an independent journalism program that helped to train Afghan journalists to report accurately to the Afghan public regarding the development of their country and the importance of the international presence in assisting that development. Her work in assisting in the creation of such a program was recognized by key elements within the Afghan Government, who welcomed accurate reporting of the positive work being done to help build a new, contemporary Afghanistan. Ms. Callahan is now back home in the US and lives in Upstate New York.

It is from the wealth of experiences of her years in Afghanistan that the stories of her books and her unique insights have  come.

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the blog

  • The Wrong Debate….and At What Price?

      I am amazed at the things Americans talk about sometimes. The world seems to be spinning out of control, with our planet being threatened by looming ecological disaster and the continuous conflicts of mankind, yet our news is filled with the debate that rages around whether or not children should be vaccinated.  Really? Way back when my son was young, vaccinations were a matter of course.  One gave them little thought, like circumsions for male children or the fact that lots of sugar was bad for little ones.  Things as simple as washing your hands to prevent the spread of germs, or the concept of penicillin and its benefits, were taken as products of enlightened science. They were signs of the progress civilization had made and they brought a better life to all.  People did not seem to agonize over what was considered progress. Perhaps that statement may seem naive, was it naive to believe that diseases could and should be controlled and that if they were society was better for it?   Maybe it was easier to think that because back then we functioned more as a society with common interests than we do now. Life was a group effort which recognized that while we might have differences in customs of viewpoints, we were all in this together and, when it came to things like vaccinations, most of us thought that what protected your kid also protected mine.  Making that protection the best it could be was the goal. […]

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  • When Will They Ever Learn?

      It seems that US efforts to build up Afghan security forces are now classified.  The report of the decision to withhold information on the mission of the US military in support of Afghan forces comes at a very interesting time. Granted, Afghans must now defend their country after the official end of US military involvement and subsequent US troop withdrawals and they may still need help. But the report comes at a very interesting time in the annals of the US in Afghanistan. It comes alongside an announcement that a long time USAID contractor who was given large amounts of funding for work in Afghanistan has been suspended pending investigations into its use, or rather, alleged misuse, of that federal funding. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/01/29/transparency-goes-on-holiday-in-afghanistan It seems that assistance to Afghan forces, assistance that will cost US taxpayers and families a high price in potential casualties and loss of further treasure, must now be classified, although one is hard pressed to find a sound reason anywhere in the report for the decision. Classified, as in no one can see what is going on in a place already fraught with allegations of massive corruption and a track record of failed programs that have made the US look less than effective in its foreign policies.  Classified, meaning the American people cannot know what is going on. It may indeed be reasonable to insist that Afghanistan still needs US assistance in moving forward and that the Afghan security forces are not quite ready to do […]

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