Ashraf Haidari ’01 graduated from Wabash in a completely different world. We all know how much that world changed on September 11th – less than four months after his Commencement.
Since those days, Ashraf has begun raising a family, achieved an advanced degree, and become a leading statesman for his country – Afghanistan. Yes, statesman is the right word – the challenges they face are astronomically large but he was the talents, and the will, to move those mountains.
He talked on March 3, 2011 to a packed International Hall about his homeland and the challenges the Afghans face. Not woe is me. Not we want America out. Nothing like that. A very calm and straightforward review of where they have been, where they are, and what the future holds. I can not even begin to tell you how much I admire Ashraf and how proud I am of him.
After the presentation, one student, shown in the picture, brought up the challenges in that part of the world from his homeland’s perspective. This young man is from Pakistan and, as you can imagine, has a different view of the impact of terrorism in that area, especially when it comes to which countries are doing enough and which ones aren’t. Did he disagree with some of what Ashraf had to say? Yes. Did they discuss it like true gentlemen? Yes, indeed. I was proud of them both.
A Wabash without an Ashraf Hadari and this intelligent young man from Pakistan would be a lesser place.
As an “Oh by the way”, I was seated at a table with a young man from Crawfordsville who is now a Wabash student. As a “townie” myself, I ask him what made him come to Wabash. “Ashraf Haidari”, he said. Ashraf worked in the college bookstore and took the young man under his wing when he was a boy of 8. Think about that course of events.