Alumni in profile

Image of Abdullah Shariat

Abdullah Shariat
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 2006
Bachelor of Teaching (Primary and Secondary) 2003 and
Bachelor of Arts 1998

Afghan diplomat and one-time freedom fighter Abdullah Shariat's inspirational life has been littered by war and suffering. But despite this, he has always been driven by the dream to build a new and prosperous homeland.

Currently a diplomat with the Afghanistan Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mr Shariat explained 'that he and his countrymen have suffered unimaginably' over the last three decades.
'Whilst I was undertaking my medical degree in Afghanistan in 1979, the country was overrun and occupied by the Soviet Union Red Army,' he explained.

'Consequently, I left my academic studies and joined the Holy Warriors as a freedom fighter in my home town. So, at the age of 23, I was effectively homeless and stateless and the occupation broke apart mine and many other families. I carried on my politico-military mission for over seven years in the battle field under the command of our national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud and was wounded twice."

"After I was badly wounded in a massive offensive by the Soviet Red Army in my home area of Kunduz province, I had to go to Pakistan for medical treatment. At this time I was starting to work with Massoud's Jamiat Islami Party, which was a radical Islamic party. However it was always my goal to resume and complete my academic studies, but at the time, the problem in going overseas for educated people like me was that the radical parties where anti-Western in their ideology and were against Afghans going overseas."
"As a result I decided to leave the party and join a new party with a liberal political ideology and a leader with a long anti-communist islamic history. The party I chose was the Afghan National Liberation Front under the leadership of Professor Mijaddedi Mojaddedi, who was a liberal-minded intellectual but with moderate background of Islamic struggle and strongly encouraged me to finish my studies," he said.

"As a result of this encouragement from Professor Mojaddedi, who even assisted with me with my airfare, I decided to migrate to Australia on 1 March 1989 with my young family.'

Initially finding life in a foreign country a challenge, the Shariat family were able to eventually settle into Australian life and worked hard to make a better living.

'After a few months there, I tried hard to teach myself English and subsequently went on to university, even though my English was still relatively poor,' he said.

'But through diligent work I managed to finish three degrees with a high distinction average at Deakin and was inducted into the Golden Key National Honour Society.

'I enjoyed all my courses at Deakin in every respect - the kindness and understanding of the lecturers was definitely a great memory of life in Australia. Now my son, Farid, is studying at Deakin University's, Melbourne Campus at Burwood Campus.

'Through my courses at Deakin I managed to learn a couple of languages and now as a multi-lingual linguist I am using my skills to great advantage in my diplomatic mission. Through my linguistic and academic pursuits I have managed to learn the Malaysian dialects in a short period of time also.'

"I really loved the time I spend in Australia and have great affection for the country and its people. I usually try to visit at least once or twice a year - Australia will always hold a special place in my heart."

"In Australia we were able to live a safe life with very peace-loving and gentle people. I was highly impressed, as I did not receive this kind of support and respectful attitude anywhere else in my travels. You are free to practice your religion and to promote and maintain your culture and way of life and this is important to me and my family," he said.

In addition to his diplomatic duties, Mr Shariat is a notable writer. He co-authored the book 'Fighting Massoud's War,' which details his experiences fighting against the Soviets and he is currently the Consulting Producer on a three-part documentary series - An Afghan Tapestry, due for completion soon. The documentary will explore the land of Afghanistan, its people and turbulent history.

Mr Shariat explained that he is still strongly driven by the dream of bringing peace and prosperity to Afghanistan.

'I am always thinking about my war-stricken country and oppressed people and I feel obliged to serve them in my area of expertise. I am diligently working towards my goal of serving and rebuilding my oppressed nation, through my work as a diplomat and other cultural pursuits that will hopefully bring world awareness to the plight of my nation,' he said.

In addition to his diplomatic work, Mr Shariat is currently a PhD candidate and plans to work in academia one day.

'I hope to return to lecture in my homeland at Kabul University and, importantly, share my knowledge and life experience with students,' he said.

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26th November 2009