Conducting Research with Afghan and Tajik Border Police in Dushanbe

Besides taking Farsi and Tajiki language classes in Dushanbe, I have also been working with EU Border Management in Northern Afghanistan (EU-BOMNAF). BOMNAF, a UNDP Tajikistan affiliate, works with Afghan and Tajik border police and customs officials to equip them with the skills to control their borders. This July, BOMNAF hosted a two-week border security … Continue reading Conducting Research with Afghan and Tajik Border Police in Dushanbe


The Living Tradition of Music in Georgia

One thing that has always struck me about Georgian culture is that it is a culture of song.  It is often said that one out of every two Georgians are musical, either singing or playing an instrument (such as the traditional banjo-esque “panduri”).  Musical talent is highly respected, as it is integral for unlocking a … Continue reading The Living Tradition of Music in Georgia

Finding Heritage in Tajikistan

A few summers ago, my sisters and I were in San Diego with my parents visiting a park. On the way, we saw a shop selling kites. My parents wanted to buy one to fly together but my sisters and I were apprehensive – we had never flown a kite. What if we spent a … Continue reading Finding Heritage in Tajikistan

Language Matters for Development Work

Last week my internship with the National Democratic Institute in Georgia took me to the beautiful resort town of Borjomi, where I had the unique opportunity to observe trainings for local government officials.  The topic of the training was election campaign management, and NDI flew in an American expert for the occasion – a distinguished … Continue reading Language Matters for Development Work

The Living Tajiki Language (Tajiki vs. Farsi)

As one of the few ERLP students in Tajikistan studying Tajiki, I consider myself fortunate to be able to live life through my target language every day.  Like most other participants on the program, I came to Tajikistan with a background in Farsi, the Iranian dialect of the Persian language, but not in Tajiki.  While … Continue reading The Living Tajiki Language (Tajiki vs. Farsi)

Which Way Forward?

Tajikistan, a landlocked Central Asian country of 8 million people, receives few mentions in Western media outlets. Yet a cursory tour of the country makes it clear that it has become a battleground for outside powers. Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and the US have all spent millions on development projects in Tajikistan, visibly reshaping … Continue reading Which Way Forward?

The Gratitude of Giving in Tajikistan

On the night of my departure from Tajikistan back to the United States for winter break I skeptically double-checked my packing list, puzzled why my large duffel bag had absolutely no room to spare. As I tallied the contents cramped in my bag, mostly pairs of clothes and Tajikistani gifts I had bought for my … Continue reading The Gratitude of Giving in Tajikistan

Getting Hitched – The Tajik Way

Yesterday I attended my first Tajik wedding or tooi (тӯй). In Farsi, the word aroosi (عروسی) means wedding and aroos (عروس) means bride. In this case, the aroos was a 17-year-old girl from the small town of Tursunzoda, located about 30 km outside of Dushanbe. Tursunzoda reminded me of a lot of rural towns in … Continue reading Getting Hitched – The Tajik Way