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State-Building, Reforms, Conflicts

Nearly twenty years of Western intervention in Afghanistan ended on August 15, 2021, when the Taliban returned to power. The disastrous failure of Western involvement was a result of the permanent and often violent conflict between tradition and modernity that has characterised Afghanistan’s society for almost a century and a half.

The lecture deals with the first phase of Afghanistan’s modernisation in the years between 1880 and 1930. It describes its geopolitical framework and the reasons for its failure.  What lessons can be learned for the future?

The lecture will be in English and is based on documents and photos from the Phototheca Afghanica of the Swiss Afghanistan Institute. The power point presentation is accompanied by German subtitles.


Ambassador (Ret.) Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans-Ulrich Seidt

Ambassador (Ret.) Hans-Ulrich Seidt is a non-resident fellow of the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD) at Princeton University and senior advisor with Friedrich30, a Berlin based political consultancy firm. 

His focus is on geopolitics and crisis management. He served in Moscow and was posted to Germany’s NATO-delegation in Brussels. During the Balkan wars, Ambassador Seidt served as deputy head of the German government’s Special Task Force Bosnia (So-Bos). In 1998, he was transferred to the German embassy in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Seidt served from 2006 to 2008 as Germany’s ambassador to Afghanistan and from 2009 to 2012 as German ambassador to the Republic of Korea. In 2012 Ambassador Seidt became Director-General for Culture and Communication in the German foreign office in Berlin and ended his career as Inspector General of the German foreign service in 2017.


Lisa Hartmann
Public Relations and Events Officer

Rheinallee 24, 53173 Bonn




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