Vienna, 17 August 2014
On behalf of President Karzai and the Afghan Government, the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan held a medal ceremony for the honourable Professor Ali Mohammad Zahma at the Embassy Residence to bestow upon him the Medal of Mir Bacha Khan. The revered accolade was presented to Professor Zahma to mark his achievements and contributions to culture and education in Afghanistan.
A group of Afghans and foreign diplomats in Austria joined the celebration at the Residence, in addition to the Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics, Mr Sherzad and his delegation visiting the UNODC, and Embassy staff. Ambassador Erfani welcomed the guests to the event and expressed his respect for the achievements and activism for Afghanistan that the Professor accomplished during his illustrious career as an academic and government official in Kabul and abroad. Professor Zahma took the floor to share brief remarks about his experiences in Afghanistan and thanked those present for such a high honour and his wishes for a stable and prosperous future for Afghanistan. He expressed his great desire, in his old age, to once more have the chance to visit his beloved homeland.
Upon presenting the medal at the ceremony’s conclusion, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani took the floor, lauding the Professor and hoping that future generations shall also live in his image, to work towards a better future for Afghanistan through promoting the importance of education and equality amongst all Afghans. He wished the Professor a long and healthy life and his wish that the Professor continue his contributions during the coming Decade of Transformation, with guests supporting that sentiment.
Short profile of Professor Zahma
DOB 1924 Kandahar
Professor Zahma attended Habibyar High school in Kandahar.
After his secondary schooling he attended the University of Kabul and then went to work for a period at the Ministry of Education. Whilst working he also became a prolific author of a number of books, poetry and translator of texts.
He completed a master’s degree at a university in London and returned to Kabul as a Professor of Afghan and Persian Literature in the Literature Faculty at the Kabul University. He also completed a tenure as a literature Professor at Beijing University, China.
Professor Zahma suffered and left the country for Hungary in 1985, after the communist takeover. From there he moved to Vienna, Austria, where he has lived since with his wife and children promoting education and Afghan culture.