By Tillmann Dietrich
For the last two years the global independent World Security Network Foundation has been providing 100 FATA Scholarships in cooperation with a local partner for boys and girls from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the tribal areas of Pakistan. These kids live in refugee camps in a city of Pakistan and would otherwise not get any education and instead work for the subsistence of their families.
Main sponsor of this charity program is the German Federal Foreign Office. The staff of WSN works without reimbursements and the local partner foundation with a minimum overhead. “This is a well established concept including best practices and auditing to improve the very important education of FATA children,” argues Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, President of the World Security Network.
The program is a one action-result of two FATA Workshops with more than 150 experts held by the foundation in Hotel Adlon in Berlin and with the Royal College of Defense Studies (RCDS) in London in 2008. WSN is well connected in Pakistan including two editors and three former generals on its International Advisory Board. Due to the unstable security environment in FATA, WSN decided for security reasons to host the scholarships in mainland Pakistan providing support for refugee families there.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan, with their 3.5m inhabitants from several fiercely independent Pashtun tribes are important for three strategic goals:
Homeland Security: Containment of the recruitment and training of new terrorists and activities of Al Qaeda elements which threaten Europe, the United States, the Gulf Countries and other states.
Stabilization of Pakistan: Neutralization of the increasingly destabilizing effects of terrorism and prevention of the radicalization of the democratic government of Pakistan.
Stabilization of Afghanistan: Reducing the cross-border threat by the Taliban forces to the military missions of NATO and stability in Afghanistan, as the Taliban use this region for recruitment and resupplying.
Education is key for a stable Pakistan and it should not be left to the 10.000 madrasahs, since these religious seminars are too often inspired by a very narrow minded Saudi-Wahabitian version of a radical Islam. The state-education system does not provide enough schools.
“The future of Pakistan is education-education-education”, argues Dr. Hoffmann, “providing boys and girls know-how and an open-minded version of their great country and the world as it is. Unfortunately, 90 percent of U.S. support composes of weaponry from American manufactures for the military. Therefore WSN is eager to continue and expand this program and seeks more sponsors, especially in the Gulf states, which so far have not provided enough support for good education and jobs that Pakistan needs to prosper”.
Tillmann Dietrich is currently enrolled at the Royal Holloway University of London, reading Politics, Philosophy and International Relations and has worked in the German Bundestag (Albert Rupprecht, MP CDU/CSU parliamentary group), the German Ministry of Defense (office of the Parlamentarian State Secretary Thomas Kossendey) and Reliance Mutual Fund in Mumbai, India.