After five years of successful operations, the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre (ACCC) is embracing a new name with bright, new prospects. Ehsanullah Ehsan, director of the now-called Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS), and recent recipient of the Charles W. Bowser Award for Innovation in Education, the US National Educator’s top honour, envisions an institution that will graduate “great leaders of the new generation”.
Ehsan explained the significance of changing from a ‘Centre’ to an ‘Institute’. The certificates offered by KIMS will be of greater value to recipients, as the new name better reflects the facility’s quality of professional instruction and the students’ academic achievements. Also, the Institute aspires to “eventually secure accreditation from the Ministry of Higher Education in Kabul, while the Center could not”. Furthermore, Ehsan plans to generate a higher amount of local revenue resulting from these new developments as the school moves towards greater self-sufficiency.
Including ‘Kandahar’ in the new name is meant to emphasize the “local nature of the school”, as well as facilitate possibilities for funding and partnerships from sources outside of Canada. The U.S. government has recently provided a generous grant expected to cover operating costs and teaching fees over the next year and Ehsan hopes that Canadian volunteers and organizations will continue as key supporters of the school. The ACCC has enjoyed tremendous growth and success over the last five years and Ehsan was pleased to affirm that the name will live on. The school’s morning program for instruction in English, computers, and business, which is attended by over 160 Kandahari women, will continue to operate under the name ‘Afghan-Canadian Community Centre’.
Ehsan further highlighted the school’s role in contemporary Kandahar as he called for students and graduates of KIMS to “develop and adopt new ideas of modernity and enlightenment, including the importance of science, rationality, equality and justice, human reason, tolerance, and new technologies.” Eshan’s vision is strong in this regard: “My hope is the young men and women from this Institute will…lead Afghanistan to a better future; they will gradually replace many of the evil forces that seek to control our destinies.”