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Mellissa Fung captivates audience at the University of Regina’s School of Journalism. Photo by Virginia Wright

In October 2008, Mellissa Fung was kidnapped and held captive for 28 days in Afghanistan. The former CBC journalist spoke on Nov. 17 at the University of Regina’s School of Journalism but focused little on the abduction.

Fung has been back to Afghanistan twice since the incident and is sharing her stories across Canada, on a speaking tour sponsored by Aga Khan Foundation Canada.

 

“Afghanistan hasn’t always been like this,” said Fung during her talk, titled Inside Afghanistan: Mellissa Fung on Reporting from One of the World’s Most Fragile States.

 

Suicide attacks don't happen every day and only focusing on violence in Afghanistan takes away from progress and development the country experiences, she said.

 

“Going back is important to me,” said Fung. “I was taken hostage when I was trying to tell a story about women, refugees and Afghans who were struggling in the war.”

 

Literacy rates are improving and women who previously weren’t allowed to get an education as children are now attending school.

 

“Very slowly things are turning around,” said Fung.

 

Afghanistan doctors are now performing open heart surgeries at state-of-the-art hospitals like the French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul, she noted.

 

Alison Molina, who attended the event, appreciated Fung’s insight. “These stories are hardly ever covered in the news,” she said.

 

Rosemary Quipp, public affairs officer at Aga Khan Foundation Canada, explained the goal of the speak tour is “to tell that other side of the story, to widen that lens and help people realize what’s happening in Afghanistan.”

 

Fung will speak tomorrow at Concordia University in Montréal. Her tour will end at Humber College on Wed., Nov. 19 in Toronto.