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.

author

the blog

  • 9/11/2014

    9/11/2014 It’s a cloudy day here in Upstate New York this September 11, 2014. It is quite unlike the pristinely sunny day thirteen years ago that so changed our world.  On that day I remember a brilliant blue sky and a sense of calm that has not been felt since those planes veered off course and into history. For me personally, it has been a long, winding journey. A couple of years after the attacks I actually found myself going to Afghanistan. Like so many Americans, I wanted to do something to help so that some good could come of the madness. I wanted to believe that the tragedy of those attacks could lead to a better world as we took care of the bad guys and helped the victims in places like Afghanistan. Along with so many others, I wanted to believe that this latest intervention by the good guys could turn things around and make everything all right once more. The reality, seen through the lens of more than a decade is that the world is infinitely more complex than we had imagined in those innocent days before 9/11. Yet it is still a world in which humanity and its attendant virtues are the most important assets as we move forward. We need to be connected and we need to remember that not everyone who is different from us is bad. And we need to keep talking to one another. Truth is that sometimes people talk at one […]

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  • The Power of Peace

    Afghanistan and the US The Power of Peace Earlier in this war torn month of August 2014, an article from Reuters about a little known power generation plant in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan appeared. Written by Jessica Donati and Sarwar Amani, it reported that the US was stopping its long time funding of the Kajakai Hydro Power Plant which will mean that the lights will go out in Kandahar and surrounding environs, making that already dark area of the world even darker. The plant had been a priority for the US, a counter insurgency program that created opportunities for a better life, including much needed jobs in factories that could now be powered by the plant. Ms. Donati and Mr. Amani state that “Bringing a stable source of electricity to Kandahar, the cradle of the hardline [sic] Islamist movement and once a base for its leader Mullah Omar, was a top U.S. counter-insurgency priority as Washington pursued its policy of winning hearts and minds.” When the US stops its funding for the plant, the region will be plunged once again in darkness. The reality is that neither the government of Afghanistan nor the people of the region can pay for the complex costs involved in sustaining the electricity supply. The resulting darkness will now play into the hands of the Taliban insurgency. Men now unemployed as factories close will be tempted to join the insurgency to fight against the foreigners who let them down. The hearts and minds once so […]

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the books

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