This profile was prepared when Asad Danish was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Asad is working to bring harmony to war-torn Afghanistan and the Pushtoon tribal belt in and along Pakistan in the North West Frontier Province. He focuses on education and learning through publishing, creating libraries and providing resources to illiterate masses through radio. Asad’s publishing house prints ‘knowledge’ books, including dictionaries, how-to guides, translations and magazines that bring local wisdom and global knowledge to the Pushtoon people in their own language. The crux of Asad’s work has been the creation of libraries in small towns in Afghanistan, particularly in schools. Using books donated by his organization, the Danish Publication Association, Asad developed the concept of the “Dynamic Librarian,” through which he started reading circles to promote education in local communities. The publication house now serves as a for-profit venture that supports him and helps him invest in rebuilding Afghanistan through various community projects. It focuses on Pushtoon and other communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and does outreach to Afghan and Pakistani communities in Europe, North America and the Middle East to help mobilize resources for development in rebuilding Afghanistan. In addition to this, Asad is establishing an FM channel, which will broadcast local news and promote Afghan culture and literature. Asad’s publishing and library projects have brought together people from social, political and literary fields and made him a known figure among the locals. Asad has built upon this to create hubs for meeting places to create discussions and dialogue around peace. He is also involving religious leaders and the Taliban in his efforts to bring tranquility; a peace mushaira (poetry recital) held recently in Kabul is an example of such activities. Through inclusive activities such as these he is bringing a semblance of peace and normalcy to war-torn Afghanistan.