Abdul Bostani, the founder and director of Glasgow Afghan United, was honoured to raise
the voice of Afghans when he met the Queen.

The meeting happened when he attended the opening of the Scottish Parliament as a guest
of Bob Doris MSP.

The prestigious ceremonial event officially marks the beginning of a new parliamentary
session and is attended by all of the Members of the Scottish Parliament, including First
Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and many other important dignitaries.

It is also attended by the Queen, who addressed the Edinburgh event.

All MSPs are allowed to invite a “Local Hero”, one person who makes a difference in their
constituency. We were delighted when Mr Doris chose Abdul as his Local Hero as a tribute
to the work of GAU and its response to the Afghan crisis.

This meant that not only was GAU represented at the Scottish Parliament, but the Scottish
Afghan community was too.

And during the day in Edinburgh, Abdul was one of the lucky people able to meet the Queen
– and raise the case of Afghans everywhere.

Here he explains what happened:

“When I arrived in Scotland as a teenager, I could never have imagined I would later be
representing my community at the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament.

“And if you had told me I would also be speaking to the Queen about Afghanistan, I would
never have believed you.

“But this is what happened, thanks to the generosity of Bob Doris MSP for choosing me as
his Local Hero. Standing in the Scottish Parliament building, I felt very proud to be Afghan
and Scottish and I felt a great responsibility to make sure I represented the community well.

“I hadn’t expected to speak to the Queen, and I was very lucky to get the chance because
not everyone did. She walked up to me and asked my name and what job I did. I told her
that I was from Glasgow Afghan United and said we are supporting people through this

“She knew about what is happening in Afghanistan and told me ‘the country is divided’. I said
‘yes, it is divided because people do not support the Taliban’ and she agreed with me.

“In that moment, I got to raise the voices of the Afghan people with the head of state. It is
something I am very proud and honoured to have done. It’s a privilege to support people
through GAU because every time we do so, those people have given us their trust and

“I would like to thank Bob Doris for this wonderful honour and opportunity and, more than
that, I would like to thank him for being a friend to the Scottish Afghan community, for
speaking up for our community in the Scottish Parliament, for advocating for the community
and for working for representation, inclusion, diversity and democracy at the most difficult
time for the Afghan people.”