Remember the native Afghan and Orange County civil engineer featured in my cover story "Hasan Nouri Pitched Plans to Stabilize Aliso Creek and His Native Afghanistan, But No One Listened"? One thing that has changed since the piece was published in December 2008: Nouri now resides in San Clemente instead of Laguna Hills. But though the U.S. may see light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to fighting in Afghanistan, Nouri still sees--and assists--children orphaned by decades of warfare.
When it was Soviet forces facing off against his people, Nouri and UCLA Medical Center physician Dr. Robert Simon in 1984 founded the nonprofit International Medical Corps, which erected more than 50 M*A*S*H-style medical clinics to patch up Mujahideen freedom fighters.
Then, after Nouri and his first wife cared for an 8-year-old who had his hand blown off in Afghanistan's civil war, they founded another nonprofit in 1993: International Orphan Care (IOC), which builds orphanages, schools and medical clinics for the estimated 1.5 million children believed to have lost one or both parents during the seemingly ceaseless warfare.
The Hoover Medalist's organization relies greatly on money raised at galas held in the Orange County, and the next one is noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Caspian Restaurant, 141 Culver Drive, Irvine. Your $60 ticket to the event chaired by former Laguna Niguel Mayor Mike Whipple includes a buffet dinner, fashion show and entertainment on stage and next to your table. There will also be live and silent auctions.
Since this is such late notice (sorry, Hasan), if you can't attend you can still contribute what you can anytime by visiting orphanproject.org. If you do visit the website, scroll down to the heartbreaking story of one of those the IOC is helping, 6-year-old Hazara boy Mohammad Amin.
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Included on the IOC Advisory Board is President George H.W. Bush's first special envoy to the mujahideen, Ambassador Peter Tomsen. Nouri is also spreading the word about the World Affairs Council of Orange County hosting an appearance Thursday by Tomsen, who speaks on a subject both know well: "The Wars of Afghanistan."
The author of The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts and The Failures of Great Powers has had close relationships with Afghan leaders and has dealt with senior Taliban, warlords and religious leaders involved in the region's conflicts over the past two decades. After entering the Foreign Service in 1967--he's served in Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, and the Soviet Union--Tomsen became United States deputy chief of mission in China from 1986 to 1989, special envoy on Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, deputy assistant secretary for East Asian affairs from 1992 to 1995, and the American ambassador to Armenia from 1995 to 1998.
Tomsen's speech comes during a dinner at the Hilton Costa Mesa, 3050 Bristol St., that begins with a 6 p.m. reception. Tickets are $45 for students, $55 for World Affairs Council members and $70 for non-members. Register at 949.253,5751, or email orangecounty@