Contributing Authors

Dag Hansen

Dag Ottar Leithe Hansen is Norwegian and lived in Afghanistan for ten years during the period of 1995-96 and 2001-08. He married a South African, Helen, in 2003, whom he met in Kabul. He lived with his family in Afghanistan, with his two oldest children. Together they gained valuable insight into Afghan society and family life. Dag experienced first-hand, the drastic changes that occurred in Afghanistan, through the last three major conflicts: The Civil War, The Taliban Reign and the war involving the NATO/US coalition forces. In addition to his engineering studies, Dag has a post-graduate degree in Cross-Cultural Communication, and a Masters in Pedagogical studies, which focuses on Democratic Leadership and Intercultural Competence. During his time in Afghanistan, Dag used his engineering skills by working as a leader for several Food-for-Work Programs. Later he served in other parts of the country in varying capacities: University teacher in Bamian Province, Logistics Officer in Nooristan/ Laghman Province, District Coordinator in Cha ‘Ab Province and Educational director in the city of Mazar e-Sharif. He has held contracts with many different international NGOs. Dag has personally encountered the different mujahedeen fractions loyal to Masood, Gulbudin Hekmatiar or Rashid Dostum. Traveling through the frontlines and working with both civil and military leaders, demanded communication skills which were culturally sensitive. He has shared compounds with the local residents who included him in their daily lives, celebrations and struggles. He maintains that his security was based on the goodwill of the neighbors, and his ability to blend with society around him, by speaking one of the local languages. The Taliban invasion of Jalalabad and Kabul in the autumn of 1996 was a golden opportunity for Dag to fine-tune these skills to achieve the cooperation of local Taliban leaders. Since 2009 Dag has conducted over 50 seminars for the Norwegian army on Afghan culture. The theme has been on how to understand the Afghan culture in such a way that you may mentor, assist and help in cultural sustainable ways.

Books by Dag Hansen

Cultural Guide SMARTbook 1 – Afghanistan