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Student Profile: Elyas Abubakr

While some of us were tanning in the sun, riding bikes, and barbequing, a select few were out making the world a better place. One of those few was Elyas Abubakr, a junior majoring in International Studies. This past summer Elyas visited his family in Afghanistan and arrived in time for the upcoming Presidential elections, to be held on August 20, 2009.

During this time, Elyas got involved as much as possible. He became an intern for the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan working closely with the candidates and their representatives. “It was an unbelievable position, a Golden opportunity for me to learn more about the dynamics of Afghan politics and the election process within Afghanistan,” said Abubakr. 

Elyas was then offered an internship with the International Foundation of Electoral Processes to work on projects in the field of civic and electoral education in Afghanistan. Support to the Electoral Process (STEP), helped the Afghan people become better prepared for the upcoming elections. 

Through the STEP Program, Elyas was able to travel through many cities in Afghanistan, educating people on the process of presidential elections.” I was able to explain the concepts of governance, democracy, citizenship, responsibilities of elected bodies, the value of the vote, and the importance of women participation in the election process of the country,” explained Elyas.  

While Elyas was in Heart, a suicide bomb went off killing 34 people. He explained however; that this did not dishearten the people of Afghanistan as many men and women continued to register to vote. “I have faith in the good judgment of Afghan people and I am optimist about the outcomes of the elections. I believe I now have a more realistic point of view about the election and political process in Afghanistan,” commented Elyas.  

Elyas will return to Afghanistan again next summer to work with the Afghan people for the 2010 parliamentary elections.