Our History

Background/History of INSAN

INSAN Magazine was founded in the spring of 2013 as a quarterly publication. The founders defined the Magazine's mandate and mission as advocating for and spreading humanistic values, rational thought, scientific thought, philosophy, and human sciences. The Magazine's primary focus was on three disciplines of human sciences: psychology, sociology, and philosophy. However, it also included other fields, such as art, literature, and culture in its scope. This was a first-of-its-kind volunteer effort for a humanistic purpose within the Afghan intellectual community. In parallel, several other projects were being undertaken by our INSAN team and other practitioners, such as the House of Human Sciences (HHS) and the Afghanistan Humanist Association (AHA). INSAN Magazine was the flagship publication of HHS, dedicated to publishing and promoting human sciences and ideas in philosophy and humanities. Despite financial challenges and strict quality criteria for articles and writing, the Magazine's management consistently strove to produce high-quality content."

INSAN Magazine faced financial constraints until 2018. However, that year, the management team decided to seek funding to establish the organisation and professionalise its operations. Open Society Afghanistan (OSA) was the first organisation to support INSAN. This funding allowed INSAN to further its long-term mission and attract experts who could uphold the Magazine's principles and present a positive image for this evolving intellectual institution in Afghanistan. The process of institutionalisation continued in 2019, which was marked as a year of expansion and the achievement of new objectives.

Additionally, the team had a mission to foster the development of ideas, concepts, and programs that had been in consideration for years. To that end, all these ideas were discussed among the co-founders, executives, and sister organisations in order to address the ultimate needs in research, education, and the media community. In 2019, INSAN Talks, a program which contributed to the enhancement of INSAN's reputation, was launched. The program aimed to create a platform for discourse on human prosperity in Afghanistan and establish a framework for bringing all types of events under one umbrella. INSAN Talks aimed to connect other Afghan local communities and urban networks within intra-dialogue and bridge external relations with the Afghan diaspora for highly humanistic purposes.

In the same year, INSAN also initiated another unique project, the Intellectual Initiative. This successful project brought significant change to the scope of our work and was an organised effort to engage scholars with students from different disciplines. We delivered 20-hour lectures on Introduction to French Sociology to approximately 40 students, with 70% of them being female. The Intellectual Initiative is a semi-educational program that aims to promote methodology in thinking, discovery, and practice through a disciplinary approach.

On the other hand, 2019 was a year of political changes. In order to address the need for valid and credible news and professional journalism, INSAN created the INSAN News Desk. However, after one year of operation, the leadership decided to rebrand it as AFGHANIA, as a new concept that aimed to change the way things were done. Seraj-ul-AFGHANIA continued its work as an affiliate of INSAN in order to maintain a focus on the fundamental philosophy of providing an in-depth analysis on Afghan society.

In 2020, INSAN Magazine continued its mission as an independent publication. In October of the same year, INSAN Institute was founded as a non-governmental, non-profit, non-partisan, and independent research organisation. The INSAN Institute serves as a comprehensive platform for all research and policy programs and initiatives, including the War Studies Program, Afghanistan Research Network, School of Economics, and other academic and policy research projects, under one umbrella. However, on 15 August 2021, the capital city of Kabul fell to the Taliban, an international insurgent group that had been fighting against the US-backed Islamic Republic Government of Afghanistan for two decades. Due to this, INSAN had to dismiss its permanent office in the Kart-e-Char area of the city and had to move everything to a secure location. This marked the end of our journey of enlightenment, with great sadness and disappointment. The fall of Kabul was a massive blow to the progress and prosperity we had been working towards, and it was a bitter end to the years of hard work and dedication put in by our team and supporters. We hope to continue our mission in the future and to keep spreading humanistic values, rationality, and scientific thought.