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  • Bios | Global Friends of Af

    Biographies Jason Criss Howk (USA)- Director of Global Friends ​ Jason retired from the US Army after 23 years of working on critical US national security missions and spent most of his career focused on Afghanistan. He was posted to Afghanistan after the events of 9/11. Jason helped with the formation of the Afghan National Army and developed the Security Sector Reform program as Aide De Camp to Major General (later Ambassador) Eikenberry. He was also Aide-de-Camp to General (Ret) Stanley A. McChrystal during the US/ NATO strategic assessment of the Afghan War. Next, he assisted Lt General (Ret) Sir Graeme Lamb (British Army) and the Afghan government on the 2010 Afghan Peace and Reconciliation Plan. Finally, Jason led two teams monitoring Afghanistan and Pakistan on the US Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the White House. ​ As a professor, Jason was part of the 2016 Presidential Transition National Security team, and later assisted US CENTCOM and NATO Resolute Support Mission on Afghanistan. He has advised NATO, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and the US and Afghan governments. He has worked on Afghan projects for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Jason studied Dari (Afghan Farsi) and Arabic at the Defense Language Institute (DLI), is a Malone Fellow in Arab and Islamic Studies, an interfaith leader, and was a Council on Foreign Relations term-member. Jason earned his master's degree in South Asian and Middle Eastern Security Studies from Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). JohnAgoglia Jason Criss Howk SarahH John Agoglia (USA)- GFA Deputy Director for Partnerships ​ John Agoglia is the director of Trinity Planning & Investments LLC. He served as director of the Counterinsurgency Training Center-Afghanistan in Kabul from 2008-2010 and also the director of the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. ​ John is the Deputy Director of Global Friends and is responsible for our partnerships and outreach programs. Sarah Hearn OBE (UK) International Development and Policy Expert Sarah Hearn OBE is a senior expert on international peace and development and an adjunct professor of global governance at New York University (NYU). She is co-signatory on a letter from senior ex-UK government personnel to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on priority measures to evacuate the UK’s Afghan staff and allies. Sarah is also a member of a group of former senior UK personnel, the Afghanistan Diplomacy and Development Alliance, which aims to help Afghan allies to safety in Britain. Sarah worked for over a decade in the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, London, New York and Uganda. During her time with Afghanistan, Sarah worked in UK aid in Kabul, served as deputy director of the FCO Afghan drugs unit in London, and Director of Programs in the NATO/ISAF Force Reintegration Cell in ISAF HQ. She later served as Special Adviser to the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding in New York, and as Associate Director and Senior Fellow at NYU, where she facilitated international negotiations on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sarah has advised on international peace and development priorities to the G7, NATO, the OECD, UN, and The World Bank. Her work has been cited by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, Deutsche Welle, the Guardian UK, Radio France Internationale, The Sentinel and The Wire in India, World Politics Review and The Broker at the EU, among others. Sarah holds an M.Phil. (2002) from the University of Oxford and a B.A. Hons. (1999) from University College London. In 2012, she was awarded the OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services to international development. ​ Rahela S ​ Rahela Sidiqi (Afghanistan) Education and Social Reformer Rahela Sidiqi is the Director and Founder of Farkhunda, an Educational Trust for Afghan Women. Mrs. Sidiqi was a Senior Advisor of Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan (IARCSC), where she developed and led various reform policies across the country, such as civil service law, reform procedures, and structural adjustment processes. ​ ​ Rahela Sidiqi has been governance and reform advisor at senior levels of both government and international organizations, where she helped develop strategic policies, implementation plans, administrative reform, capacity building, and the grassroots development for UN-Habitat, CIESVE, DFID, USAID, UNHCR, and OXFAM, and Civil Service Commissions along with 47 ministerial agencies and several NGOs in the private sector. ​ ​ Mrs. Sidiqi was instrumental in reviewing and editing the structure of each ministry based on their services volume, duplication of tasks, areas of integration, and relevancies in relationship to the job description. This was done by providing technical support to Civil Service management departments in order to develop a successful performance evaluation to meet the vision and missions of the organizations. ​ ​ Rahela Sidiqi also led a team of technical advisors in the provision of technical analysis of pay and grading systems to the cabinets of Afghanistan, and in addition, she presented the IARCSC's ‘vision & mission’ legislation body to the government and other international donors. ​ With an MA in Social Development and Sustainable Livelihoods, Rahela Sidiqi was a member of Technical Advisor Group for Transparency & Right to Information at The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and led initial Access to Information Law consultation in Afghanistan, with government and civil society organizations during 2009-2011. ​ ​ She wrote on Afghanistan's progress on transparency and the right to information for the years 2010-2015.​ Rahela Sidiqi has also written and contributed to several articles and academic research papers related to reform and capacity building. ​ Dr. Mir Sadat (USA) National Security Dr. Mir Sadat has more than 25 years of experience in private industry and government. Dr. Sadat is a former policy director at the U.S. National Security Council, where he led interagency coordination on defense and space policy issues. In this role, Dr. Sadat supported the establishment of both the U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command and reviewed national security decisions involving civil space (NASA) and the U.S. commercial space sector. He was also a naval officer with intelligence and space qualifications. In his preceding two naval assignments, he served as a space policy strategist with Chief of Naval Operations and as a space operations officer with U.S. Tenth Fleet. In addition, Sadat has previously deployed to overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan, where he served as a strategic advisor to two International Security Assistance Force commanding generals. ​ Dr. Sadat has served as a cultural advisor to two Hollywood productions—The Kite Runner and Charlie Wilson’s War . He has a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University and has taught at various universities in California and Washington, DC. He has trained and educated US and NATO troops on a variety of topics to increase their operational capability and strategic impact. Sadat has written extensively on US national security, space, Afghanistan, South Asia, and the broader Middle East. He is a senior fellow with the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council and an adjunct scholar with the Modern War Institute at West Point. Dr Mir Sadat PashtanaD ​ Pashtana Durrani (Afghanistan) Education Leader Pashtana Durrani is an Afghan human rights activist and community development expert whose focus is girls’ education. ​ Pashtana is a visiting fellow at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). She is an Afghan human rights activist and community development expert whose focus is girls’ education. During her time at WCW, she is continuing her research to help Afghan women and girls pursue education and support the health of Afghan mothers and babies. ​ Durrani is the founder of LEARN Afghanistan (@LearnAfg ), a grassroots organization established to safely and securely provide education to girls through a distributed network of tablet computers using an offline platform. Through LEARN, she has educated 7,000 girls and boys in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and trained more than 80 teachers in digital literacy. LEARN also focuses on girls’ health, and has trained 700 girls in menstrual hygiene management. ​ Awards & Recognition ​ Durrani was named an Education Champion by the Malala Fund for her outstanding work to advance Afghan girls’ education. She was a global youth representative for Amnesty International and a board member of the steering committee for the Global Environment Facility, an international partnership to address pressing environmental concerns. She is also a winner of the 2021 Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Emerging Leader prize, which recognizes leaders who have addressed complex global challenges in innovative ways. Pashtana Durrani was among the BBC 100 influential women list for the year 2021. Aimie ​ Aimie (Orman) Thomas (USA ) Fundraising Aimie Thomas is the owner of Lemon-Aide Consulting, a consulting business that offers grant research, writing, and consulting services to non-profit and for-profit organizations and businesses. Aimie has a certification in grant writing from Learn Grant Writing and over 17 years of experience as a freelance writer. Aimie's core competencies include creating compelling and persuasive content that resonates with diverse audiences and donors, as well as developing funding strategies that align with the missions and goals of my clients. My passion for writing stems from my background in social work and my travels to over 20 countries, where I worked with community development programs focusing on women and children. I have also written and edited content for various publications, including Enterprising Women, where I showcased the inspiring story of Mozhgan Wafiq Alokozai and her NGO Eagle Online Academy. I enjoy helping organizations tell their stories and secure funding for their impactful projects. Connecting Afghans with the world Nasirullah John (Afghanistan) Author & former Interpreter to US Forces Nasirullah "John" Safi was born and raised in the war-torn country of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. While many schools were closed at that time due to radicalism and extremism, he had a desire to always learn more from a very young age. He began a path to acquire an education no matter how hard the road was. He bounced back and forth between Madrassas and homeschooling to fulfill the dream of becoming a medical doctor, a profession that Safi and his mother chose because she suffered from chronic illness and he wanted to help her. Unfortunately, attending Madrassas wouldn't help him achieve his goals. In 2001, a U.S.-led coalition began the war on terror that not only changed his life for the better, but it also improved the lives of millions of Afghan men, women, and children as well. ​ Buy his new book “Get the Terp Up Here! ” Nasirullah Safi Ejaz Ahmad Malikzada (Afghanistan) Advisory Board Education Ejaz Ahmad Malikzada is the former Director of Anti-Corruption in the Office of the First Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, before the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan. Besides this, Ejaz helped the First Vice President as his special aide for Peace Efforts. Before his work as Director of Anti-Corruption, Ejaz worked with the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies as External Relations Officer. Malikzada was also a senior member at Afghanistan Green Trend, a youth-led grassroots organization that aimed at fighting extremism and radicalization among youth and promoted youth participation in governance in Afghanistan. Ejaz Ahmad Malikzada Dr Bahar Jalili Dr. Bahar Jalili (Afghanistan-USA) GFA Scholar Dr. Bahar Jalali is an Afghan-American academic. Born in Afghanistan, she fled the country as a child after the Soviet invasion. In 2009, she returned to Afghanistan to work at the newly opened American University in Kabul where she taught History of Afghanistan and founded the first Gender Studies program in the history of the country. She spent 8.5 years teaching and working towards women's empowerment in Afghanistan. She recently launched an online campaign with the hashtag #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture to protect and preserve Afghan cultural heritage in the wake of the Taliban take-over of power in Afghanistan. This online campaign garnered widespread international media coverage and raised awareness about authentic Afghan attire and the need to safeguard Afghanistan’s heritage. She is currently a Visiting Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland in the United States. Sara Wahedi (Afghanistan) GFA Scholar Sara Wahedi is the CEO and Founder of Ehtesab, Afghanistan’s first civic technology startup. Ehtesab has been providing real-time security and city service alerts through the ‘Ehtesab App’ to Kabul residents since June 2020, and is expanding to three major cities across the country by the end of this year. Earlier this year, she was named as one of TIME Magazine’s ’Next Generation Leaders’, and is a 2022 semi-finalist for MIT Technology Review’s ‘Innovators under 35’ list, for her work in democratizing access to information for Afghans. Sara previously worked at the Office of the President of Afghanistan, responsible for supporting social development policy and projects across the country. She is also currently completing her studies in Data Science and Human Rights at Columbia University. Sara Wahedi Paul Becker Rear Admiral, USN (Ret), Paul Becker (USA) Advisory Committee RADM Paul Becker, USN (Ret) Paul Becker is a senior executive with a unique combination of business, military, cyber, and leadership experience. Paul served around the world, afloat and ashore, in peace crisis and combat. From 2016-17, he led the Presidential Transition’s Intelligence Community Landing Team which provided policy input, strategic guidance, and operational counsel to a new administration. ​ Specific military service includes; Director of Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Afghanistan, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, and Commanding Officer of Central Command’s Joint Intelligence Center in Tampa. ​ He holds an MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and BS from the US Naval Academy. Rear Admiral Becker is the recipient of the National Intelligence Community's and Department of Defense’s Distinguished Service Medals, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Hosai Admadzai ​ Hosai Ahmadzai (Afghanistan) Media Fellow Hosai Ahmadzai is a news and current affairs presenter for Shamshad Radio & Television Network which is based in Afghanistan and Dubai. Shamshad TV was launched in early 2006 and broadcasts 24 hours a day. Shamshad TV is one of the most popular Pashto language television stations in Afghanistan. Ahmadzai has grown her career around Shamshad’s network. She’s an English, Dari, Urdu, and Pashto speaker. Her work involved translating and analysing news for a wide range of audiences. She’s also been awarded for her excellent work on radio broadcasting in Afghanistan. Hosai also has a background in education and teaching. Before her career in broadcasting, she was an instructor at the Jahan School and the Tander Educational Center in Afghanistan. Waliullah Rahmani (Afghanistan) GFA Media Fellow Waliullah Rahmani is a media fellow at Global Friends of Afghanistan. Rahmani is an Asia researcher of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). From 2016 to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in August 2021, he was the founder and director of Khabarnama Media, one of the first digital media organizations in Afghanistan. Before that, Rahmani has served as senior adviser to the Executive Office of the national unity government of Afghanistan. Waliullah also served as the founding director of the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies from 2007 to 2014. In his research, Rahmani has focused on terrorism, insurgency, radical Islamic movements, Afghanistan, and the broader South Asian region for over a decade. Waliullah Rahmani Melanie Benson (USA) The GFA Journal Melanie Benson is the Senior Editor for A Voice for Two Nations, the journal for GFA. Melanie currently serves as the Senior Global Practice Area Coordinator for Social Impact at the Boston Consulting Group, based in Paris, France. She has over a decade of program management and operations experience serving organizations within both the public and private sectors. She formerly acted as an Assistant Director at the Sanford School for Public Policy at Duke University where she was responsible for the Program in American Grand Strategy. From 2014-2017, Melanie was a member of the Aerospace & Defense and Public Sector teams at the Boston Consulting Group in Washington, DC, managing client relationships across practices. Melanie holds a M.A. in International Conflict Resolution from George Washington University and a B.A. in International Affairs, Political Science, and Spanish from Marquette University. Melanie Benson Megan Minnion (Canada) International Defence and Security Megan Minnion is a Canadian citizen with twenty-five years experience in the defence and security sector. For two and a half years, she served as a political advisor to NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan and subsequently was appointed the Transition Task Force Team Leader for UNAMA and UNDP from 2011-2013. In this position, she coordinated the Transition Task Force across 27 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes and drafted several analytical papers including a substantive piece on the impact of the drawdown of ISAF on the Afghan economy. ​ Megan was the first political advisor for USFOR-A’s TF2010, focused on counter corruption and contract vetting, followed by working with the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force Shafafiyat (Farsi/Pashto for Transparency). She also worked for UNDP’s Afghan Sub-National Governance Programme and later helped set up an Afghan NGO with a group of friends. In autumn 2021, Megan became part of the core team of volunteer experts supporting the Uplift Afghanistan Fund who have since distributed food, medicine, and supplies to thousands of families across Afghanistan. ​ Since 2002, Megan has worked on and off at NATO Headquarters in various areas including the Building Integrity Programme; Operations (Afghanistan, Iraq, Global Coalition); Defence and Security Related Capacity Building; Women, Peace and Security; Media Operations and Public Diplomacy. Megan was a former soldier and Electronic Warfare Land Tactical Specialist in the Canadian Armed Forces and, separately, organized rehabilitative programmes in various penitentiaries in Canada while studying at Queen’s University. Megan has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration focused on Strategic Defence Management from the Royal Military College of Canada. Megan is a proud mom of two children, loves cycling, and placed eighth in Nepal’s World Elephant Polo Championship. Megan M AmbHH ​ Fmr. Ambassador Husain Haqqani (Pakistan-USA) Senior Fellow Hudson Institute Husain Haqqani is a senior fellow and director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute. He served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011 and is widely credited with managing a difficult partnership during a critical phase in the global war on terrorism. Amb. Haqqani’s distinguished career in government includes serving as an advisor to four Pakistani Prime ministers: Yusuf Raza Gilani, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, and Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi. He also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1992 to 1993. ​ Amb. Haqqani is the author of four books: Pakistan Between Mosque and Military (Carnegie, 2005), Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States and an Epic History of Misunderstanding (Public Affairs, 2013), India vs Pakistan: Why Can’t We Just Be Friends? (Juggernaut, 2016) and Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State (Harper Collins, 2018). ​ Considered an expert on radical Islamist movements, Amb. Haqqani is co-editor with Hillel Fradkin and Eric Brown of Hudson’s journal, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. Amb. Haqqani was formerly director of the Center of International Relations, and a professor of the practice of international relations at Boston University. His areas of expertise include diplomacy, Muslim political movements, international journalism, intercultural relations, South Asia, Central Asia, South-East Asia, the Middle-East, and U.S.-Pakistan relations. ​ Amb. Haqqani received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations from the University of Karachi. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, he acquired traditional Islamic learning as well as a modern education in international relations. His journalism career started with work as East Asian correspondent for Arabia: The Islamic World Review during the turbulent years following the Iranian revolution. During this period he wrote extensively on Muslims in China and East Asia and Islamic political movements. Later, as Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, he covered the war in Afghanistan and acquired a deep understanding of militant Islamist Jihadi groups. ​ Amb. Haqqani has contributed numerous op-eds and articles to international publications and also regularly comments on television and radio programs. ​ ​ Gen Votel General Joseph L. Votel (Rtd) (USA) Advisory Committee General Joseph L. Votel is a retired U.S. Army Four-Star officer and most recently the Commander of the U.S. Central Command – responsible for U.S. and coalition military operations in the Middle East, Levant, and Central and South Asia. During his 39 years in the military, he commanded special operations and conventional military forces at every level. His career included combat in Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Notably, he led a 79-member coalition that successfully liberated Iraq and Syria from the Islamic State Caliphate. He preceded his assignment at CENTCOM with service as the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and the Joint Special Operations Command. Votel was recognized with the Distinguished Military Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council, the U.S. – Arab Defense Leadership Award from the National Council on U.S. - Arab Relations, the Patriot Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the SGT James T. Regan Lifetime Achievement Award from the “Lead the Way” Foundation and the Freedom Award from the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. In January of 2020, General Votel became President & CEO of Business Executives for National Security (BENS). He is a Strategic Advisor for Sierra Nevada Corporation as well as a member of the Board of Trustees for Noblis Corporation. Votel is a non-resident Distinguished Fellow at the Middle East Institute and the Belfer Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and advises the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. He sits on the Executive Board of Freedom House and the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL). He serves on the Board of Directors for Service to School, Minnesota Wire, Digital Force Technologies, and Owl Cyber Defense. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Votel is a 1980 graduate of the United States Military Academy and earned master’s degrees from the U.S. Army Command and Staff College and the Army War College. He is married to Michele; and they have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. The Votels reside in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. Haroon Andar Haroon Andar, D.O. (Afghanistan- USA) Community Relations Haroon Andar, D.O. is a Double Board Certified Interventional Pain Management Physician practicing out of Miami, Florida. He is an Afghan-American who is also a proud native of Florida where he attended the University of Florida. There he earned his B.S. in Political Science and completed an internship in Washington D.C. with the Midwestern Governors Association having a significant interest in public policy. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, he soon pursued his Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. Subsequently, he completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Nova Southeastern University/Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami, FL followed by further advanced training with an Interventional Pain Management Fellowship. As a first-generation Afghan-American, he has devoted himself to fostering, maintaining, and expansion of continued Afghan-American relations. In the wake of the US Withdrawal, he has also volunteered his time and efforts to help resettle Afghan refugees in the Miami-Dade County region. He has a particularly keen interest in the advancement of the educational sector for the Afghan people and enhancing student relations between both nations. HugoLLorens Ambassador (Ret) Hugo Llorens (USA) GFA Fellow Hugo Llorens is a retired U.S. Ambassador. Currently, Llorens serves as the CEO of his own international consulting firm. As such, he provides advice to U.S. and international firms on political, trade, and investment matters pertaining to markets in Canada, Latin America, Europe, South Asia, and the Western Pacific. He utilizes his 36 years of diplomatic experience and leverages his network of global contacts to enhance his clients’ business prospects. He also does public speaking on leadership and foreign affairs issues and is currently writing a book about his diplomatic experiences. ​ In 2016-2017, Ambassador Llorens served as Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. In Kabul he led the largest U.S. Embassy in the world with a staff of 8,500 U.S., Afghan and Third Country National employees representing 22 U.S. government agencies. During his tenure in Afghanistan, Llorens spearheaded the U.S. diplomatic effort in a priority conflict-ridden nation during the Obama and Trump Administrations. He worked closely with the incoming Trump national security team in developing a new strategic approach towards Afghanistan that encompasses governance, military and security, development and trade and investment components. ​ Prior to his tenure in Afghanistan (2013-2016), Llorens was the principal officer in Sydney, Australia, the United States’ oldest diplomatic mission in the Asia Pacific region (established in 1836). In Sydney he served as the lead U.S. diplomat responsible for promoting trade and investment and managing U.S. ties with the vast and resource-rich states of New South Wales and Queensland, which together account for over 50% of Australia's GDP. Sydney is the business and financial capital of Australia and is the corporate headquarters for the lion's share of major U.S., and Australian firms operating in this rapidly growing Asia-Pacific nation. Ambassador Hugo Llorens was the Assistant Chief of Mission (an Ambassador-level position) at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan from May 2012 to June a 2013. In that position he served as the Chief Operating Officer of the largest Embassy in the world, and played a prominent role in the successful negotiation of the Bilateral Security Agreement, which defines the long-term U.S.-Afghan relationship as the U.S. presence transitioned from a direct combat role to more of an advisory role. Previous to his first assignment in Afghanistan, Llorens was Ambassador-in-Residence and a faculty advisor for diplomatic statecraft at the National War College in Fort McNair Washington DC -- the pre-eminent educational institution training senior military officers and diplomats on the art and science of grand strategy. At the War College, Llorens directed an effort to strengthen the strategic leadership components of the curriculum. He also provided substantive expertise on diplomatic statecraft, governance, rule of law, combatting organized crime, Western Hemisphere issues, and international trade/investment/energy issues. ​ Llorens served as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras from September 2008 to July 2011. In Tegucigalpa he was a key Administration player in managing the Honduran coup crisis of 2009. His on the ground efforts resulted in the successful negotiation of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, the holding of free and fair elections, and the restoration of the democratic and constitutional order. In Honduras he led an Embassy team of 450 American and Honduran staff representing 12 U.S. government agencies with a combined operating budget of $20 million, plus 175 Peace Corps volunteers. He also coordinated a combined USAID and MCC economic development portfolio totaling $150 million in annual disbursements, plus sizeable military and counter narcotics assistance programs. Prior to his nomination and confirmation as Ambassador, he served for two years as the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the American Embassy in Madrid, where he took up his duties on September 1, 2006. Ambassador Llorens was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he served for three years from August 2003 until July 2006. ​ From 2002-2003, Llorens was Director of Andean Affairs at the NSC, where he was the principal advisor to the President and National Security Advisor on issues pertaining to Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Prior to the NSC, he served for three years (1999-2002) as Principal Officer at the Consulate General in Vancouver, Canada. In Vancouver, he created a novel multi-agency “Law Enforcement Hub” that included the opening of FBI, ATF, U.S. Customs, Secret Service, and Regional Security offices to work with Canadian counterparts on counterterrorism and international crime investigations. ​ From 1997-1999, Mr. Llorens was Deputy Director of the Office of Economic Policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs where he helped launch the FTAA negotiations in 1998. As a veteran diplomat who began his career in 1981, he has served in economic, commercial, consular and counter drug positions in Tegucigalpa, La Paz, Asunción, San Salvador, and Manila. ​ Llorens received his Master of Science in National Security Studies, National War College in 1997; Master of Arts in Economics, University of Kent at Canterbury, England in 1980; and Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1977. ​ Llorens has earned numerous awards for distinguished performance, including eight Superior Honor and six Meritorious Honor Awards. He is a past recipient of the Cobb Award for excellence in the promotion of U.S. business, was runner-up for the Saltzman Award for distinguished performance in advancing U.S. international economic interests, and was nominated for the James Baker Award for superior performance by a Deputy Chief of Mission. He speaks Spanish, Tagalog, and some French. In 2019 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeyer awarded Ambassador Llorens the Civilian Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his pivotal role in supporting German diplomatic staff in Afghanistan following the bombing and destruction of the German Embassy in Kabul in May 2017. The award ceremony took place on June 19, 2019 at the German Embassy in Washington DC. Llorens is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the American College of National Security Leaders. Dr Ahmad Farhad Fidai Dr. Ahmad Farhad Fidai (Afghanistan) Friend of Afghanistan Dr. Ahmad Farhad Fidai is a founder of Freelance Translation Interpretation Services Co based in Afghanistan, established since 2003 Freelance Translation Interpretation Services LLC based in the United States of America established since 2020. He has graduated from Kabul Medical Faculty in the year 2007. He has widely traveled as a simultaneous interpreter across the world and attended thousands of conferences across five continents. He is also a professional simultaneous interpreter and cricket commentator. Ronald L Smith Kawser Amine Ronald Leonard Smith Sr. (USA ) Advisory Committee Ronald L. Smith Sr. is a member of the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission. Smith is an Executive with extensive experience in operations management, strategic planning, and international management. Proven track record in leading, managing, and producing in both private and public sectors working with the military, and government agencies including State, Justice and Defense Departments, Foreign Governments, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). He Directed Emergency Operations CONUS/OCONUS for natural and man-made disasters supporting the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), FEMA, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), USAID to include Haiti relief operations, UN Sub-Saharan operations, and Hurricanes including Sandy, Irene, and Isaac. Extensive experience in Sub-Saharan Africa including Liberia, Sudan (Darfur), South Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia; the Arabian Peninsula; and Afghanistan. ​ Kawser Amine (Afghanistan-USA ) Advisory Committee Kawser Amine was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. She earned a Bachelor's degree in general management with a specialization in international relations at the Indian School of Business Management in New Delhi, India. Kawser worked with different parts of society, helping to show that females were having a major role in leadership positions in Afghanistan. This effort was celebrated because it improved the participation of women in leadership, governance, politics, and the peace process in Afghanistan. Kawser used her position as a former high-profile athlete to advance women's rights, health, and education. Kawser also founded the women's leadership club/women's soccer club at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). She worked as a leadership program assistant at the Office of the National Security Council, Afghanistan. Kawser worked as a p olitical analyst for the Secretary Council of Afghanistan in the Arg, the Afghan presidential office. She was also a gender program adviser in the Ministry of Women Affairs. Since the fall of Kabul, she has raised her voice for Afghanistan. She has been interviewed by local and international news channels regarding the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Kawser has started a campaign for Afghan women's education. Kawser wants to raise her voice for thousands of silent voices that have been shut off by the Taliban. Her mission is to stand up and support women and their participation in Afghan society. As a young female from Afghanistan, she wants to speak up on behalf of the youth of her country and build a worldwide circle to stand for women's equal rights. She wants all women to have access to education, peace, politics, social activities and sport. Seth ​ Seth Oldmixon (USA) Strategic Communications Expert Seth Oldmixon is an award-winning communications professional with over fifteen years planning and executing public affairs campaigns that advance organizational goals with the press, the public, and government officials. Skilled at translating complex stories and ideas into accessible messages that resonate with diverse audiences, Seth provides expertly crafted messaging and strategy for businesses, political campaigns, and advocacy organizations. With deep expertise in digital media, Seth has designed successful integrated communications campaigns for high-profile individuals and organizations, helping them identify key audiences, hone their messages, engage supporters, and change conversations. A compelling storyteller, Seth’s writing has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, as well as on dozens of blogs and websites. His work has received national recognition at the annual Reed Awards and the American Association of Political Consultants’ Pollie Awards. Seth is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. ChrisB ​ Chris Blackburn (UK) Communications Director- B Strategic Partners Chris Blackburn is a political analyst with a strong emphasis on counterterrorism and security. He provides analysis and advice to NGOs, law firms, political campaigns, think tanks, and private organizations. Since 2001, Chris has worked closely with political leaders and security professionals from around the world. He has briefed US Senators and Congressmen on security-related topics. He has also worked with South Asian policymakers to help provide synergy with European leaders on issues concerning human rights and security. Chris has given numerous speeches in the Houses of Parliament for the UK’s All Parliamentary Group on Human Rights (PHRG). ​ He has also provided the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) with briefings on counterterrorism and produced reports for clients working with the DOJ. Early in his career, he worked with the investigative teams for the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism lawsuit. He has also worked with international lawyers on fraud and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) investigations. He provides due diligence research in high-risk areas. Chris organized the US Intelligence Conference and Exposition (Intelcon) 2005 and the Intelligence Summit(s), two prestigious forums for security and international relations based in the United States of America. Intelcon 2005 was part of the public outreach program for The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission). Senator Slade Gorton and former US Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick helped to organize the conference. Chris facilitated seminars led by leading intelligence leaders from around the world on major reforms to the US intelligence community called, "View from Abroad". Chris frequently works with journalists, diplomats, and subject specialists. Chris has also worked closely with producers and researchers from major news organizations such as the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and Channel 4. ​ Chris has provided information and briefings to journalists from the BBC, The Spectator, The New Statesman, Channel 4, Deutsche Welle, The Epoch Times, Fox News, The Washington Times, Voice of America (VOA), and numerous South Asian media groups. Chris has been a leading campaigner and activist for the trials of suspected war criminals associated with Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971. In 2010, Chris was given an honorary 'Friend of Bangladesh' award by Bangladesh's Ministry of Liberation War Affairs. Chris works closely with the International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF) a leading organization specializing in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and helps organize the European Bangladesh Forum (EBF) . ​ In 2022, Chris was given an honorary letter to acknowledge his work on security and international relations by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ​ Chris is currently the Communications Director of B Strategic Partners a consultancy firm based in Munich, Germany which works with diplomats, industry, and political leaders from around the world. We help drive global investment into the Himalaya region and the Bay of Bengal. We provide confidential advice, legal services, and mediation for our clients. Paulo ​ Paulo Casaca (Portugal) Executive Director- South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) Paulo Casaca is the founder and executive director of the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF); the founder of the international co-operation association registered in Brussels ARCHumankind , ‘Alliance to Renew Co-operation among Humankind’. Founder and senior partner of the consultancy company on sustainable development registered in Brussels, Lessmeansmore- Land and Energy Sustainable Systems (2010-2020), Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the US in the first semester of 2010. ​ Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2009 where, namely, he chaired the delegation for relations with NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He was a member of the national parliament in 1992-1993 and a member of the regional parliament of the Azores in 1990-1991. He was a Councillor in the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union from 1996 to 1999, chief of staff of the Minister for Territorial Planning and Public Works in 1995/1996, economics advisor for the socialist fraction in the national parliament in 1989/1990, 1992, 1994/1995. ​ He was invited to be a professor at the Technical University of Lisbon in 1995-1996, he lectured at the University of the Azores from 1980 to 1987 and in 1991 and in the Accounting High School in Lisbon from 1987 to 1989. ​ He is the author of several books and reports on economics and international politics. He regularly hosts Afghan scholars and diplomats at SADF events in Brussels. Homeira Homeira Qaderi (Afghanistan) Writer, Activist, and Educator Homeira Qaderi is an Afghan writer, activist, and educator. She has written six books, including a collection of short stories and her acclaimed novel Noqra: The Daughter of Kabul River (Rozgar Publishers, 2009). Before leaving Afghanistan, Qaderi taught at Gharjistan University, in Kabul, and worked as a senior advisor to both the minister of education and the minister of labor, social affairs, martyrs, and the disabled. ​ While at Radcliffe, Qaderi is writing a novel, inspired by her own experiences, titled “The Scent of God.” It tells the story of a girl from the Kabul suburbs who is kidnapped during the Soviet-Afghan war and taken to St. Petersburg. After the fall of the Soviet Union, she returns to her hometown, which is under Taliban rule. The novel follows her experiences living under the Taliban rule and through the American invasion and her eventual immigration to Smyrna, Delaware. As she recovers, she reflects on her forced nomadism with nostalgia. ​ Qaderi received her PhD in Persian literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, in India. She was awarded the Malalai Medal—Afghanistan’s highest civilian honor—for exceptional bravery by President Ashraf Ghani. She was a writer in residence at the University of Iowa in 2015. Her first book in English translation, Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to Her Son (Harper, 2020), was excerpted by the New York Times and chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best nonfiction books of 2020. Douglas L. Ramsdell (USA) National Security and Defense The son of a First-Class Machinist Mate, LCDR Douglas Ramsdell was born at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico in 1962. He was raised in Cantonment, FL, and graduated from J.M. Tate High School in 1980. He has an MBA in Business Administration from Averett College, a BS in Business Management from Troy State University, and completed MA in National Security Studies from the Naval War College. ​ Doug enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Airman and completed Aviation Electronics Technician “A” and “C” schools at Naval Aviation Technical Training Center (NATTC), Memphis, TN in 1981. He also completed Naval Aircrewman Candidate School, at Pensacola, FL in 1982. ​ He reported to Patrol Squadron Forty-Eight (VP-48) in Moffett Field, CA, where he served as an Inflight Technician on the P-3 Orion aircraft. During his tour, he completed multiple deployments throughout the Asia Pacific, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Completing his Sea Tour, Doug reported to the Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP) in Pensacola, FL. There he served as a Flight Test Crew Chief on the H-3 Sea King, H-53 Sea Stallion, H-60 Sea Hawk, and AH-1W Cobra helicopters. In addition, he served as a Co-pilot for the T-2 Buckeye and A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. Doug completed his active-duty service obligation in 1990, attaining ~10,000 flight hours. ​ Doug joined the private industry and served in various capacities to include Analyst, Program Manager, and Site Lead for Defense Contractors in the Government Sector. Major Commands supported include Central Command (CENTCOM), Africa Command (AFRICOM), and Special Operations Command (SOCOM). ​ After a ~13-yr hiatus, Doug re-enlisted in the Naval Reserves as an Intelligence Specialist and affiliated with Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in New Orleans, LA in 2003. He was commissioned through the Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) / Limited Duty Officer (LDO) Program as an Intelligence Officer (6455/6835) in 2009; after which he laterally transferred to the Information Warfare (IW) Community as a Special Duty Officer, Intelligence (1835) in 2013. ​ Doug was deployed to Afghanistan (twice) culminating in 36-mos Boots on Ground. Further, he has been on active duty since 2104 and is soon retiring after 28-yrs active service. His assignments include Joint Intelligence Task Force – Counter-Terrorism (JITF-CT), New Orleans, LA; US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Tampa FL; Joint Special Operations Command – Strike Force (JSOC – STRK), Afghanistan; Coastal Riverine Squadron Ten (CORIVRON TEN), NAS Jacksonville, FL; Office of the Under Secretary for Intelligence (OUSDI); Washington, DC; and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Contingency Response Field Office (CRFO), Glynco, GA. ​ LCDR Ramsdell’s personal awards include the Joint Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, various campaigns, unit, and service awards. He is a qualified Information Warfare Officer, Anti-Terrorism Officer, Naval Aircrewman, Air Warfare Specialist and earned the Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge. ​ LCDR Ramsdell has three adult children, Kristen, Shannon, and Ryan, and resides with his wife Terri in Pensacola, FL. DougRamsdell Shermineh Salehi Esmati (Canada ) Friend of Afghanistan Ms. Esmati is VP of Growth for TODAQ and co-founder of TODAQ USA. At TODAQ she drives growth and corporate development work with a particular focus on hybrid cloud, digital identity, and critical energy and commodity supply chains. She presently advises on open source and digital asset standards within Canada, the United States and Europe through the CIO Strategy Council, Standards Council of Canada, ASTM, Trust over IP and Decentralized Identity Foundation. She spearheaded the partnership between TODAQ, Red Hat and IBM, motivated by the need for the TODA protocol to bring its added value to enterprise scale containerization. “Shermineh’s unbounded energy and instinct for long-term value and opportunity has accelerated our go to market efforts at a very timely point as the first suite of TODA and ADOT technologies convert to enterprise-grade products with the TaaS (‘TODA-as-a service’) API and ADOT Server Product. Introducing new disruptive value to markets requires the right mix of fearlessness, pragmatism, and a relentless focus on how to provide long-term customer value and we’re fortunate to have Shermineh onboard.”. - Hassan Khan, TODAQ CEO. Before joining TODAQ, Ms. Esmati had built a successful career in blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation with her consulting business Cyrus BC Inc, providing clients (both enterprise and start-up) with strategic corporate partnership, business development, international financial regulatory research, and geopolitical analysis. She had worked for Blockchain Intelligence Group, as the Head of Regulatory Research, providing strategic partnerships, business development, and global regulatory research. Her work met the company’s ambition to support cryptocurrency investigations desired by clients including high net worth individuals, the banking sector, intelligence, police, and other government agencies. Shermineh had also formerly served as Head of Strategic Partnerships for the Blockchain and Climate Institute, which helped shape sustainable blochchain policy for governments in Europe, North America, and multinational organizations. As a Committee Member on Open Source for the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada, she continues to advise on strategic partnerships to innovate while pursuing data security and inclusivity across borders. Prior to pivoting to the fintech industry, Ms. Esmati worked at Carleton University, leading a team of researchers on economic and international security policy for clients at the IMF, African Union and Washington-based think tanks focused on big data satellite research. From a young age, Ms. Esmati had an interest in public service and improving the quality of life of those around her reflected in her work, having begun to work for respected Canadian politicians at the age of fifteen. With government degrees from both University of Toronto and Harvard University, Ms. Esmati has demonstrated a track record of commitment to service which she plans to continue to apply in both politics and the private sector. Shermineh Asma Faraz Asma Faraz (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Asma works at AMS Integrated Solution as an External Relations Manager. As the ER Manager, she leads the company’s external communications and public affairs. She is also responsible for AMS’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), through which she supports the company’s work with vulnerable communities, including women, youth, and persons with disabilities. Prior to joining AMS, Asma served as the Events Manager and later as the Executive Assistant to the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Washington, DC. ​ Asma was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. Like many Afghans growing up during the civil war, Asma spent most of her childhood in Pakistan as a refugee. Her family left Kabul after the Taliban took over the capital and barred girls from attending schools. Asma and her family returned to Kabul after the 2001 US invasion where she attended high school and obtained a degree in psychology at Kabul University. Education has become an important part of Asma’s advocacy. She currently supports the Council on Democracy for Afghanistan’s advocacy efforts on education rights in Afghanistan. Asma is also an active volunteer for a number of nonprofit organizations and serves on the board of numerous organizations, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan. Press Officer (USA) Communications Press Officer is responsible for updating the website. ​ They handle press inquiries and also write and edit releases on behalf of Global Friends of Afghanistan (GFA). GFA Press ScottCooper Scott Cooper (USA) National Security and Human Rights Scott Cooper is a nonresident senior fellow with the Forward Defense practice at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. His research focuses on national security, airpower, defense planning, and the intersection of human rights and national security. ​ Cooper served for twenty years on active duty in the US Marine Corps, flying the EA-6B Prowler and serving as a forward air controller. He served five tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, commanded an EA-6B squadron, and finished his service as the speechwriter to the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for aviation. ​ After his retirement from the Marine Corps, Cooper spent five years at Human Rights First as its national security outreach director, building alliances and partnerships with the military and national security communities. He founded Veterans for American Ideals , a grassroots, community-based group of veterans leveraging military voices to bridge divides and regain a shared sense of national community. ​ His research and commentary have appeared in many publications, including The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Policy Review, the Washington Quarterly, War on the Rocks, Defense One, USA Today, Newsweek, the Hill, and the American Interest. He has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and NPR’s Weekend Edition. He co-authored the book No-Fly Zones and International Security: Politics and Strategy . ​ Previously, he was an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and is a life member of the think tank. He holds a BS in political science from the US Naval Academy and an MA in international relations from the University of Maryland at College Park. He lives with his wife on Capitol Hill. ​ Beth Bailey (USA) Media Fellow Beth Bailey began studying the complex conflict in Afghanistan in 2008 during her undergraduate career at the College of William and Mary. In 2010, she started working as a civilian intelligence analyst with the Department of the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center, where she received numerous awards for her analysis involving the war in Afghanistan. In 2013, Beth left the intelligence world and began writing a novel, still underway, about the intersection of love and the Afghan war. She started her freelancing career in 2017 and has focused primarily on covering veterans' issues, writing about the history of the Holocaust, telling the stories of warfighters, and combating rising antisemitism. Most recently, she has devoted her writing efforts to covering the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan and telling the stories of Afghans left behind, and the evacuation volunteers who strive to assist them. ​ Beth's work on Afghanistan can be found in the Washington Examiner, Reason and The Federalist. ​ Here are some of Beth's recent works: ​ In Afghanistan, Private Aid Fills Void Left by Bureaucratic Failure I Reason New restrictions mark end of Taliban search for legitimacy I Washington Examiner Afghan linguist turned U.S. citizen fights for family left behind I Washington Examiner BethBailey Mark Jacobson Mark R. Jacobson (USA) Education Dr. Mark Jacobson has over twenty-five years of experience in the U.S. government, international organizations, and academia working on some of the most complex and politically sensitive national security issues facing the United States. He has served as a policymaker, diplomat, academic, and as a uniformed member of the military. He is a recognized expert on U.S. foreign policy, national security, and modern US military history and can explain in clear terms how the U.S. develops foreign and defense policy, including the role of bureaucratic and partisan politics, the role of Congress in these decisions, as well as how it all plays out in the international arena. ​ He currently serves as the Assistant Dean, Washington Programs at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where he leads Washington DC-based educational programs for the school. Jacobson is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy and in that role co-authored, Shatter the House of Mirrors, a 2017 report on Russian political warfare. He also co-curates Active-Measures newsletter, a weekly digest of articles on propaganda and disinformation. ​ Prior to this role, Jacobson served as the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor American Institutions and International Diplomacy at Amherst College where he taught courses on strategy and the history of propaganda and disinformation. He has also held appointments at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Jacobson’s government service includes appointments as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy during the Obama Administration and from 2009-2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan as the first Deputy Senior Civilian NATO Representative and concurrently as the International Security Assistance Force, Director of International Affairs. ​ Earlier in his career Jacobson served at the Pentagon in multiple civil- service roles and was in his office on September 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the wing where he worked. On Capitol Hill, Jacobson worked for the late Senator Carl Levin on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee and participated in the inquiry into the treatment and interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody. A veteran, Jacobson served as a tactical and strategic human intelligence office in Afghanistan in 2006. In the 1990’s Jacobson held an enlisted role as a U.S. Army Psychological Operations (PSYOP) specialist and deployed to Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Endeavor (1996-1997). ​ Jacobson speaks regularly on radio, broadcast and cable television networks in the United States and abroad including segments as a commentator and subject matter expert for one-on-one interviews and panel discussions. He has been quoted in major print and online publications and his commentary has appeared in the Washington Post, The Hill, Defense One, POLITICO, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, and the Chicago Tribune. ​ Jacobson grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and holds degrees from the University of Michigan, King’s College, University of London, and a PhD in Military History from The Ohio State University. He lives with his family in Washington DC. Nargis Nehan (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Nargis Nehan Mrs. Nargis Nehan was born in 1981 in Afghanistan and holds a master’s degree in Business Management and has received international training in the areas of leadership, result-based budgeting, gender budgeting, strategic planning, good governance, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution. ​ She came from a middle-class family that had to leave the country during the war. They struggled as refugees. Nehan spoke of escaping the war as a child and starting a new life as a refugee in Pakistan. When she realized that her family could not afford to pay for her education, she started working with local NGOs for Afghan refugees to put herself and her siblings through school, ultimately earning a master's degree in business administration. She was working for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) when she got a chance to return to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. NRC sent her to Kabul to help them set up their office. Later she decided to stay and work with the new government's Assistance Co-ordination Authority. In 2007 she coauthored a book with Ashraff Ghani Ahmadzai: The budget as a linchpin of the state: Lessons from Afghanistan. ​ Nehan was a member of the Civil Society Joint Working Group (CS-JWG), the Afghan Coalition for Transparency and Accountability (ACTA), and the Supreme Council of the Central Bank of Afghanistan. She was the first female Member of the Afghanistan Central Bank's Leadership Council. ​ The Former Afghan Minister for Mines and Petroleum now lives in Norway. In 2022, Nehan declined an invitation to take part in the three-day visit to talks with a Taliban delegation, women activists, and journalists, among others, before meeting Western diplomats in Oslo, Norway. She speaks Pashtu and English ​ ​ Bahara Kazimi (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow B ahara Kazimi is a second-year undergraduate in the School of General Studies at Columbia University. She majors in Political Science and International Relations. She is originally from Afghanistan. She graduated from Pegah High School in December 2019. Bahara served as the President of the Pegah Student Council from 2016-2017. During high school, she also worked as the Director of Be the Change, a non-profit organization based in Kabul. Bahara has also participated in different women/youth-initiative leadership conferences, such as the 7-we ek short course in Leadership Studies through the Institute for Leadership Development in 2017, as well as being an organizer of Youth Leadership Camp-2017. She also represented Switzerland in the 3rd Edition of the Pamir Model United Nations in 2018 and as the Delegate of Badakhshan in the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission through Zan International Model United Nations 2018. She also represented Pegah High School in the “Book Reading Festival” in 2019 at the French Institute under the Embassy of France in Afghanistan. She then worked as a librarian with visually impaired students/community of Kabul Blinds School through the Afghan Financial Assistance Fund from 2020 to August 2021. Bahara started her work as an intern/fellow at GFA in the fall of 2023. Bahara Kazimi Amb Ashraf AMBASSADOR M. ASHRAF HAIDARI (Afghanistan) Senior Diplomat M. Ashraf Haidari is the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, and concurrently served as the Director-General of the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP) until recently. He was the Director-General of Policy and Strategy of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan from 2015-2018. Prior to this, he served as Afghanistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission (Minister-Counselor) to India for three years. And before this, he was Afghanistan’s Deputy Assistant National Security Advisor for Policy and Oversight the Office of the President. From 2004-2011, Ambassador Haidari served at the Embassy of Afghanistan in the United States in various capacities including Chargé d’Affaires, Deputy Chief of Mission, Political Counselor, and Acting Defense Attaché. Ambassador Haidari is a writer, analyst, and TV and radio commentator on Afghanistan, regional and international affairs. He has held senior research and visiting fellowship positions at major international think-tanks, including the Institute of National Security Studies of Sri Lanka (INSSSL) in Colombo, the New America (NA) in Washington-D.C., the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) in Kabul, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the Delhi Policy Group (DPG) in New Delhi. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies (International Security and Development) from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington-D.C., and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Wabash College in Indiana. During 2002-2003, Ambassador Haidari was a Fellow in Foreign Service at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service. Ambassador Haidari serves on the board of the Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation in New York. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Biruni Institute in Kabul, and previously served on the board of the Roots of Peace in California. Ambassador Haidari is the recipient of several public and academic awards, and his life and achievements have been publicly recognized and featured in international publications. This past December, he received the Global Citizen Award from the Roots of Peace, which recognized his relentless humanitarian diplomacy. Ambassador Haidari was born and grew up in Afghanistan and shares a personal story that resonates with millions of other ordinary Afghans touched by decades of conflict. He experienced these hardships firsthand both under the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and the Taliban rule in the 1990s. He is married and has one son. ​ ​ Annie Pforzheimer (USA) former US Diplomat and Scholar ​ Annie Pforzheimer is a non-resident associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She is currently an adjunct professor at the City University of New York and a commentator and advocate on foreign policy matters. A retired career diplomat with the personal rank of minister counselor, Annie was the acting deputy assistant secretary of state for Afghanistan until March 2019, and from 2017 to 2018 was the deputy chief of mission in Kabul. With a focus on security, rule of law, and human rights during a 30-year career in the Foreign Service, Annie directed the implementation of the 2014 U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America at the National Security Council; the Office of Andean Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs during Colombia’s peace process and the emerging Venezuela crisis (2015–2017); and the Bureau of International Organization Affairs’ Office of Peace Support Operations, Sanctions, and Counterterrorism. She led the $1 billion rule of law program (the Mérida Initiative) in Mexico and was the political counselor at the U.S. Embassies in Afghanistan and El Salvador. She is a graduate of Harvard University and holds an MA in security studies from the National War College. AnnieP Media Contact Mina Sharif (Afghanistan-Canada) Media Consultant Mina Sharif was born in Afghanistan. When she was less than a year old, her family was forced to flee and eventually immigrated to Canada where she was raised. In early 2005, she traveled back to Afghanistan as a volunteer media trainer, working with radio stations throughout the country. Mina Sharif had a variety of experiences in Afghanistan including media training for street children, developing and disseminating campaigns in support of the ANDSF, and directing two seasons of Baghch-e-Simsim, the Afghan version of Sesame Street. She is the founder of Sisters 4 Sisters, a mentorship program for women and girls in marginalized communities. She also developed and produced Voice of Afghan Youth, a TV and radio series highlighting the accomplishments of Afghan children throughout the country. Mina has traveled to thirty provinces in Afghanistan and spent nearly 15 years in the country. Currently, Mina is involved in numerous volunteer initiatives including content development to serve the Afghan diaspora, leading fundraisers for aid distribution, peace advocacy, and leading the Durkhanum Sewing Circle for women breadwinners in Kabul. MinaSharif Sitarah Mohammadi (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Sitarah Mohammadi advocates for the rights and protection of people in Afghanistan with the European Union, UNHCR, as well as the United Nations. She is the spokesperson at the World Hazara Council. Sitarah is a commentary contributor to Guardian Australia and writes on issues of human rights, Afghanistan and refugees. She is the Vice President of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. Sitarah has also demonstrated her deep commitment to effecting positive social change in her community and beyond through her work with many organisations in Australia and internationally. Sitarah was recently awarded the 2022 Young Voltaire Human Rights Award by Liberty Victoria, one of Australia's most prominent human rights organisations. Sitarah is currently undertaking her Juris Doctorate in Law at Monash Law school in Australia. Sitarah recently co-authored a chapter in the volume of Migrant Australia: From Botany Bay to Manus Island. Sitarah has worked as a Legal Researcher with Afghanistan Human Rights Democracy Organisation. In 2019, Sitarah pursued post-graduate studies as a Provost Scholar at the University of Oxford, where she undertook International Relations and Politics and completed her dissertation on Australia's refugee policy. Sitarah obtained her BA in International Relations and Human Rights from Monash University, Australia. Sitarah was born in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime in the late 1990s, and she was told that women and girls were second-class and didn’t need an education. Like millions of girls in Afghanistan, Sitarah shares a personal story that resonates with all women and girls in Afghanistan whose lives were turned upside down by the return of the Taliban in August 2021. Sitarah Sahraa Karimi (Afghanistan) GFA Arts Fellow Sahraa Karimi is an Independent Film Director, and a screenwriter from Afghanistan. On 15 August 2021 she was forced to leave Afghanistan due to the sudden and unexpected fall of Kabul and the return of the Taliban to power. Currently, she is a Visiting- Professor at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematographia ( Rome National Film School) in Rome, Italy. She belongs to the second generation of Afghan migrants in Iran. When she was 17 years old, she immigrated to the Slovak Republic. In August 2012 she returned to Kabul, established her own Film Production Company Kapila Multimedia House to support Afghan independent filmmakers and artists. ​ Sahraa Karimi has received her PhD Degree in the field of Cinema (Fiction Film Directing & Screenwriting) from the Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Film and TV Faculty in Bratislava, Slovakia (FTF- VSMU). ​ She is the first and only woman from Afghanistan, who has a PhD degree in the field of Cinema. She is also the only Afghan filmmaker, who is an active member of the Slovak Film and TV Academy. Sahraa Karimi has about 30 short fiction and documentary films in her filmography, which she has made during her study in VSMU from 2002 to 2012. Her films were successful internationally and were broadcasted through ARTE France, BBC, Slovak TV, and other European broadcasting channels. She is also the winner of many important international Film Awards such as the Slovak National Film and TV Award, Bilbao Int. Documentary and Short Film Festival-Spain, One World Doc. Film Festival- Slovakia, Sole Luna Film Festival- Italy, Morodas Doc Film Festival- Italy, DIDOR Film Festival-Tajikistan, Dhaka International Film Festival- Bangladesh, Cine Film Festival, Montereau, France, and many other significant film festivals around the world. She was also a member of the jury of many important International Film Festivals around the world including the Head of Jury of Stockholm International Film Festival, Sweden, November 2021. ​ Her film “Afghan women behind the wheel” got about 25 prizes from important film festivals around the world and her short fiction film “Light breeze” got an academy award from Slovak Film and TV Academy as a best short fiction film. Her documentary film “Parlika, a woman in the land of men” had its European premiere at One World Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia in October 2016 and was the winner of the best Slovak documentary and Also the film recieved the award for the best documentary film from 16th Dhaka International Film Festival 20018 in Bangladesh. Her first fiction feature film "Hava, Maryam, Ayesha" was shot entirely in Kabul with Afghan actresses and had its world premiere at Venice Film Festival in 2019. It was Afghanistan's entry for Oscar in 2019. The film has participated in more than 50 film festivals around the world and has received numerous awards including Cigle D'or, Cine – Festival En Payes De Fayence, France, 2021. Sahraa Karimi

  • GFA Team | Global Friends of Af

    Our Team Jason Criss Howk (USA) Director of Global Friends of Afghanistan “GFA exists to help Afghans have a space to discuss their future. We aim to help the world understand Afghanistan and the needs of the Afghan people.” -GFA Director, February 2022 John Agoglia (USA) Deputy Director for Partnerships “GFA is also proud to be assisting and advocating for the humane resettlement of our Afghan allies, soon to be our "Fellow Americans," across the United States.” -GFA Deputy Director, February 2022 Education Council ​ The GFA Education Council helps guide the organization to meet its mission and to help fulfill its goals in the field of education. GFA's Education Council is made up of academics, scholars, and educational leaders who are working with Afghans around the world. The council oversees GFA's programs and initiatives concerning education. ​ Jason Criss Howk (USA) GFA Director Education Council Leader ​ Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Annie Pforzheimer (USA) GFA Fellow ​ Mariam Solaimankhil MP (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Ambassador (Ret) Hugo Llorens (USA) GFA Fellow ​ Crystal Bayat (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow ​ Ariana Delawari (Afghanistan-USA) GFA Fellow Kevin Rardin (United States) GFA Fellow ​ Fawzia Koofi (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Rear Admiral (Ret) Paul Becker (USA) Advisory Committee ​ Mina Sharif (Afghanistan-Canada) GFA Fellow ​ Beth Bailey (USA) Media Fellow Homeira Qaderi (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Mark R. Jacobson (USA) Advisory Committee Dr. Bahar Jalili (Afghanistan-USA) GFA Scholar Pashtana Durrani (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Scott Cooper (USA) Advisory Committee Asma Faraz (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Ejaz Ahmad Malikzada (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Waliullah Rahmani (Afghanistan) GFA Media Fellow Yalda Royan (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Sara Wahedi (Afghanistan) GFA Scholar ​ Hosai Ahmadzai (Afghanistan) Media Fellow Sitarah Mohammadi (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Nargis Nehan (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Sahraa Karimi (Afghanistan) GFA Arts Fellow Zarifa Ghafari (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Bahara Kazimi (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Shaira Karimi (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Partnerships Council ​ The GFA Partnerships Council works with our partners in the charity sector and the veteran community. They are working on evacuation and resettlement issues. ​ GFA aim is to work with partner organizations to amplify and enhance collective efforts around the world. A rising tide should raise all boats. ​ John Agoglia (USA) GFA Deputy Director for Partnerships Partnerships Council Leader ​ Sarah Hearn OBE (UK) Advisory Committee ​ General Joseph L. Votel (Rtd) (USA) Advisory Committee Dr. Mir Sadat ( USA) Advisory Committee Nasirullah Safi (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Rahela Sidiqi (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Haroon Andar, D.O. (Afghanistan- USA) Advisory Committee Douglas L. Ramsdell (USA) Advisory Committee Shermineh Salehi Esmati (Canada ) Friend of Afghanistan Megan Minnion (Canada) Advisory Committee Henry Rowland (USA ) Advisory Committee Dr. Ahmad Farhad Fidai (Afghanistan) Friend of Afghanistan Kawser Amine (Afghanistan-USA ) Advisory Committee ​ Aimie (Orman) Thomas (USA) Fundraising Doug Livermore (USA ) Advisory Committee Ronald Leonard Smith Sr. (USA ) Advisory Committee Kate Howard (USA ) Advisory Committee Outreach Council ​ The GFA Outreach Council is working around the world to help Afghans. We are helping to promote all organizations working on Afghanistan. GFA aims to be a leading organization for amplifying Afghan voices and new initiatives. Afghan talent is currently being wasted by the current de facto government in Kabul. We want to use this talent to work for change and progress for the whole of Afghanistan. Seth Oldmixon (USA) Advisory Committee GFA Deputy Director for Outreach Outreach Council Leader Chris Blackburn (UK) Advisory Committee GFA Outreach Europe Paulo Casaca (Portugal) Advisory Committee Nargis Mommand Hassanzai (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow Sediq Sediqqi (Afghanistan) Advisory Committee Fmr. Ambassador Husain Haqqani (Pakistan-USA) Advisory Committee Media Contact تشارك Global Friends of Afghanistan (GFA) مع A Voice for Two Nations ، وهي منصة للقصص التي تشترك في نفس الروح ، وتستكشف أطراف القتال ودمار الحرب ، والروابط العميقة بين شعب الولايات المتحدة وأفغانستان. Resettlement Affiliates Please visit our resettlement partners working on Afghan evacuations and resettlement issues in the United States of America. ​ Our partners have lots of excellent resources and information from legal advice to healthcare. Just click on the logos on the right to take you to their sites. GFA proudly partners with the Afghan- American Women’s Association. The A-AWA seeks to serve the Afghan community in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area through numerous different outlets. The all-volunteered-based organization currently offers platforms for Afghans in resettlement, networking, mentorship, and education. GFA proudly partners with Afghan Home USA. The Afghan Home USA is a nonprofit that seeks to promote the culture and heritage of Afghans residing in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Currently, the organization focuses on resettlement and logistical support for the influx of Afghan refugees. In addition to this Afghan Home USA also plays an active role in advocating for global dialogue, unity, and understanding. GFA proudly partners with the Afghan Medical Professionals Association of America (AMPAA). The AMPAA is an NGO that has done work directly supporting the government’s efforts to resettle Afghan refugees. During evacuations, AMPAA works alongside the CDC and other organizations to provide quality medical assessment and care to incoming Afghans. In addition to this, AMPAA also supports Afghans that are in or pursuing, health sector fields. They do this through their extensive network, numerous training, and education programs, as well as promoting STEM education for Afghan youth. GFA proudly partners with the Fresh Start Refugee Assistance Center. The mission of Fresh Start is to aid in the resettlement of refugees and immigrant groups in the Washington D.C. metro region by providing resources, and opportunities that promote self-sufficiency. Uniquely led by a board of Afghan-Americans, Fresh Start has a deep understanding of the difficulties and cultural challenges that are faced in the transition to western life. With this knowledge, Fresh Start carefully and efficiently helps refugees in the areas of resettlement, education, and community integration. GFA proudly partners with Husayn for Humanity. The mission of Husayn for Humanity is to provide selfless service by mobilizing resources and staff to those who need it the most. Husayn for Humanity has done extensive work in aiding evacuations out of Afghanistan. Specifically, they have worked directly with government organizations to provide supplies, transportation, and direction to refugees arriving in the D.C. area. GFA proudly partners with the Muslim Association of Virginia (MAV). The Mission of the MAV is to establish and maintain a vibrant community based on the teachings of Islam, through programs that support the religious, social, and educational advancement of the community they serve. Its mission also includes establishing and strengthening relationships with other Muslim and non-Muslim organizations that share their values. In addition to this, the MAV has also coordinated with government organizations to offer comprehensive services to Afghan refugees in the D.C. area. GFA proudly partners with React DC. React DC is a military spouse and veteran-led non-profit which serves the D.C. metro area. Consisting of an extensive volunteer network, React DC is using its resources and skills to provide compassionate, comprehensive, and cost-effective resettlement assistance for recently arrived refugees. Specifically, they aim to enable families to be self-reliant and integrated into their new communities. Partners

  • Education | Global Friends of Afghanistan | Washington

    أصدقاء أفغانستان العالميين Connecting Afghans with the world تساعد منظمتنا غير الربحية ومقرها الولايات المتحدة في جمع الأموال من خلال برامج ومبادرات مختلفة ، ويسعدنا أن تنخرط مع أصدقاء أفغانستان العالميين. نحن نعتمد على دعمكم من أجل تثقيف الجمهور لجعل العالم مكانًا أفضل للأجيال القادمة. يجب ألا يفقد الأفغان الأمل بسقوط كابول. انضم إلينا اليوم لتتعلم كل شيء عن خيارات التطوع والتبرع. تبرع الان Resources for Afghans Click on the symbol to the left #EndGenderApartheid Click this link for a PDF copy of the GFA statement on recognising gender apartheid under international law Click here for the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan* GFA Director, Jason Criss Howk talks to Beth Bailey about GFA and Afghanistan Global Friends of Afghanistan 2nd Annual Conference Hosted at the Military Women's Memorial Arlington Cemetery VA "Human Rights and Pathways to Afghanistan's Stability" Watch the conference on the GFA Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHhmemqigFzuy-HNeqzZDKg NEW Introduction The Ideas Shura is an initiative that aims to provide a platform for Afghan youth residing inside and outside the country to share their opinions and proposals with the people of Afghanistan (primarily) and the international community (secondarily) on important policy questions about their country. All young people under the age of 29, either individually or in groups, are eligible to participate in this essay-writing initiative. Call for Submissions The Ideas Shura invites all young people from Afghanistan inside and outside the country to submit essays in line with the guidelines. Guidelines English Guidelines Pashto Guidelines Persian Send your thoughts to: ideass h ura@globalfriendsofafghanistan.org Click to go to the Ideas Shura page 2024 Afghanistan Threat Assessment: “Over the Horizon” Counterterrorism Myths "What we learn watching successive generations of terrorist is that with each iteration they get more radicalized, more desensitized to human rights, more violent towards the most innocent, and they seek higher death tolls. The risk is too great to ignore in Afghanistan. History should not be repeated ." - Ahmad Zia Seraj, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Director General of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) from September 2019 until August 2021. Click the icon to download Zia Seraj's report on Afghanistan Why the World Should Help Afghanistan by Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari Latest GFA Press Release on Women's Education in Afghanistan March 2022 Read more Please think about making a donation to Global Friends of Afghanistan - help us make a real difference For donations with bank cards, bank transfers and other methods please click the donate button below DONATE Scan the QR code on your phone or device to make an easy donation. You can also click here . For check donations mail: Global Friends of Afghanistan 2503-D North Harrison Street, #1002, Arlington, VA 22207 United States Attention Afghan Women: “I Don’t Feel Safe.” A Global Friends of Afghanistan survey May 2022 Click the icon to download the report الذي نفعله تأسست منظمة Global Friends of Afghanistan في عام 2021 ، وهي تعمل جاهدة لمساعدة الأفغان المحتاجين. ​ تعليم أمريكا الشمالية وأوروبا في أفغانستان. ​ عملنا مكرس لتمويل وتقديم التعليم من خلال تعزيز الأصوات الأفغانية في جميع أنحاء العالم. ​ نتشارك القيم مع الأفغان المستهدفين الآن من قبل طالبان. نريد حمايتهم ومساعدة العالم على التعرف على التحديات التي يواجهونها. ابقى على تواصل Connecting Afghans with the world كيف نساعد التعليم والنمو من خلال التعليم وبناء الوعي ، نهدف إلى ضمان استمرار الدعم الإنساني والتنموي والتعليمي (والمزيد) لشعب أفغانستان. ​ الحصول على التعليم هو حق من حقوق الإنسان. تُحرم النساء والمجموعات العرقية من حق المساعدة في بناء اقتصاد ومجتمع أفضل في أفغانستان. ​ وسنواصل الدعوة إلى المرور الآمن وإعادة التوطين لجميع الأفغان المؤهلين وإجلاء جميع غير الأفغان الذين يسعون لمغادرة أفغانستان. حماية القيم المشتركة تتمثل أهدافنا في محاولة حماية أضعف فئات المجتمع الأفغاني. نريد أيضًا العمل مع جيل جديد من الأفغان والمحاربين القدامى والمدنيين من جميع أنحاء العالم للتخطيط لمستقبل أفضل. ​ نحن جهد مواطن لمساعدة الجهود الإنسانية الحكومية والعالمية للتركيز على أفغانستان. وضع المجتمع الدولي 20 عامًا من الاهتمام المركّز لمساعدة الدولة التي مزقتها الحرب لتصبح عضوًا مهمًا على المسرح العالمي. نريد الحفاظ على المكاسب التي تحققت معًا. Current Activities ​ ​ 1.) We are keeping Afghanistan and the plight of Afghans on the minds of policymakers, the press, the wider media, and the general public. ​ 2.) We are partners with citizen-led, government, and humanitarian efforts like Welcome.US and #AfghanEvac. ​ 3.) We are fighting for human rights and safeguarding Afghans around the world. ​ 4.) We are expanding the global conversation about issues in Afghanistan and are helping amplify Afghan voices. ​ 5.) We continue to advocate for safe passage and resettlement of all qualified Afghans and the evacuation of all non-Afghans seeking to leave Afghanistan. اتصل بنا أصدقاء أفغانستان العالميين واشنطن العاصمة مقاطعة كولومبيا أزيز Connecting Afghans with the world Media Contact

  • Contact Us | Global Friends of Afghanistan

    Advisory Notice: We are sorry to inform you that we aren't directly involved with evacuations of Afghans and Americans in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Please find details for individual help from our partners. Click here اتصل بنا Contact Form First Name Last Name Email Write a message Submit Thanks for submitting! Advisory Notice: We are sorry to inform you that we aren't directly involved with evacuations of Afghans and Americans in Afghanistan and elsewhere. #AfghanEvac has created Tools and Resources for Afghans in Need (TRAIN) Click here for details. تشارك Global Friends of Afghanistan (GFA) مع A Voice for Two Nations ، وهي منصة للقصص التي تشترك في نفس الروح ، وتستكشف أطراف القتال ودمار الحرب ، والروابط العميقة بين شعب الولايات المتحدة وأفغانستان.

  • GFA Press Release | Global Friends of Af

    GFA Press Release on the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri August 2nd, 2022 GFA Press Release by Jason Criss Howk Read more

  • Get Involved | Global Friends of Af

    There are many ways you can help Global Friends of Afghanistan: ​ Volunteer with us. Don't be shy. Want extra credit? Just want to be a good human? Want to help organize international conferences? Contact Us. Sign up for our email list. Donate Follow GFA, and our team, on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to see how we raise our voices for Afghans. Want us to speak at your institution of higher learning? We can Check out our Latest page for updates on what GFA are up to. Please think about making a donation to Global Friends of Afghanistan - help us make a real difference For donations with bank cards, bank transfers and other methods please click the donate button below DONATE Scan the QR code on your phone or device to make an easy donation or click here For check donations mail: Global Friends of Afghanistan 2503-D North Harrison Street, #1002, Arlington, VA 22207 United States Volunteer Sign up Follow us Consider Helping our Partners Please visit our trusted partners like LEARN Afghanistan and the Rahela Trust. Donations to their organizations help Afghans in need. ​ Our partners are vetted by our senior team leaders. They make sure help gets where it is needed. ​ The ASEEL app is also making sure help goes to the right places. ​ Please click on their logos to the right to take you to their websites. To see more Global Friends of Afghanistan partners CLICK HERE Please help Global Friends of Afghanistan Sign up to our email list today! Email List Trusted Partners Please visit our trusted partners working on Afghan evacuations and resettlement issues in the United States of America. Our partners have lots of excellent resources and information from legal advice to healthcare. Just click on the logos on the right to take you to their sites. Connecting Afghans with the world

  • Donate | Global Friends of Af

    ​ Donate to Global Friends of Afghanistan Help Support Global Friends of Afghanistan's Educational Programs Make an Annual, Quarterly, Monthly, or One-Time Tax-Deductible* Donation Global Friends of Afghanistan depends on its supporters' contributions to continue its educational mission to strengthen and expand knowledge of what is happening in Afghanistan- a country in crisis . Making a tax-deductible* donation to the Global Friends of Afghanistan's Fund, at whatever level is right for you, will help enable Global Friends of Afghanistan to continue to educate, train, and prepare the emerging Afghan and American leaders of tomorrow. *GLOBAL FRIENDS OF AFGHANISTAN is recognized as a 501(c)(3) public charity and contributions are federally tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Donations to the Global Friends of Afghanistan's Fund provide vital unrestricted revenue that helps support Global Friend of Afghanistan's full range of educational programming. You can make your gift payable to Global Friends of Afghanistan through a safe and secure online credit card donation by clicking on the donation buttons below, or you can mail a check to us at: Global Friends of Afghanistan 2503-D North Harrison Street, #1002, Arlington, VA 22207 United States of America ​ Please think about making a donation to Global Friends of Afghanistan- help us make a real difference For donations with bank cards, bank transfers and other methods please click the donate button below DONATE Scan the QR code on your phone or device to make an easy donation or click here Privacy Statement & Disclaimers Connecting Afghans with the world

  • Board of Directors | Global Friends of Af

    Board of Directors Jason Criss Howk (USA) President of the Board Sarah Hearn OBE (UK) Secretary ​ John Agoglia (USA) Treasurer

  • Overs | Global Friends of Af

    #Xspaces | @GFAfghanistan How can UNAMA support marginalized social & political groups in Afghanistan? Shahmahmood Miakhel @S_MIAKHEL Represent Pro-Republic Movement of Afghanistan Hosts: Guests Speakers: Jason Criss Howk GFA Director @jason_c_howk Hosna Jalil @hosnajalil Frmr-Dep. Ministers of Women Affairs & Interior Affairs Mirwaid Balkhi @Mirwaisbalkhi1 Former Minister of Education Aref Dostyar Kroc Institute @ArefDostyar #IdeasShuraGFA #Afghanistan4All #Xspaces | @GFAfghanistan 900+ days without school: Discussing the Taliban ban on girl's education Twitter Spaces | Sun May 12th | 12pm EDT | 5pm GMT | 8.30pm AFG Hosts: Jason Criss Howk GFA Director @jason_c_howk Hosna Jalil @hosnajalil Frmr-Dep. Ministers of Women Affairs & Interior Affairs Aref Dostyar Kroc Institute @ArefDostyar Speakers: Malalai Habibi, @MalalaiHabibi Afghanistan Advocacy Fellow at Amnesty International USA Mohammad Moheq, @MoheqMohammad Former Afghan Ambassador to Egypt #IdeasShuraGFA #Afghanistan4All Mission: Support Afghan contributions to collaborative movements that, when unified and with international support, can negotiate for a free and peaceful Afghanistan Our Objectives 1.) Create a space for inclusive discussions for all who support a free and peaceful Afghanistan 2.)- Establish a process to vet ideas and develop consensus among the different groups 3.)- Encourage the international community to support and recognize this movement 4.)- Deny the Taliban international legitimacy and platforms "If a mother is educated, she will never raise a child to be a terrorist, extremist and human right abuser. If we want a world free of extremism, terrorism and human rights abuses, then raise your voice in support of girls' education in Afghanistan." www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan - Zarifa Ghafari, Former Mayor, Author and Human Rights Activist. Star of Netflix's In Her Hands "For two decades we stood Shona ba Shona with our Afghan friends. The Global Friends network continues to stand 'shoulder to shoulder' with Afghan women and men, advocating together for a free, fair, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan; one that breaks free from these dark and isolated days." -Megan Minnion (Canada ) International Security ​ ​ www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "While the world has abandoned Afghanistan and the Taliban are reversing decades of achievements, Global Friends of Afghanistan has stepped up during this time of need to give a voice to the voiceless." -Mariam Solaimankhil (Afghanistan) Member of Parliament for Kuchis ​ www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "Afghanistan doesn't need pity. GFA is here to support Afghans that are coming together to make a positive difference for their country." -Mina Sharif (Afghanistan-Canada) Media Consultant and GFA Fellow www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "It's important to let the Afghan People know that the world has not abandoned them to their fate under Taliban tyranny. GFA will connect Afghans and the world." -Husain Haqqani (Pakistan-USA) Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "The world has lost hope for Afghanistan, but Global Friends of Afghanistan still has faith. We believe Afghans will bounce back. We all saw a new dawn. We won't let the light of liberty die." -Douglas L. Ramsdell (USA ) National Security and Defense www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "Now that memory of Afghans dropping from planes is fading, GFA will be one of the few platforms that actually continue focusing on the issues that matter to Afghanistan." -Pashtana Durrani (Afghanistan) Education Leader www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "The world must not forget Afghanistan again. GFA is a global platform to promote Afghan ideas and sustainable solutions to the country’s problems." -Sarah Hearn OBE (UK) Scholar and former British Official ​ ​ www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "The world must not forget Afghanistan again. GFA is a global platform to promote Afghan ideas and sustainable solutions to the country’s problems." -Sarah Hearn OBE (UK) Scholar and former British Official ​ ​ www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "Afghanistan doesn't need pity. GFA is here to support Afghans that are coming together to make a positive difference for their country." -Mina Sharif (Afghanistan-Canada) Media Consultant and GFA Fellow www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "The world has lost hope for Afghanistan, but Global Friends of Afghanistan still has faith. We believe Afghans will bounce back. We all saw a new dawn. We won't let the light of liberty die." -Douglas L. Ramsdell (USA ) National Security and Defense www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "“GFA exists to help Afghans have a space to discuss their future. We aim to help the world understand Afghanistan and the needs of the Afghan people.”." -Jason Criss Howk (USA ) GFA Director www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "“GFA exists to help Afghans have a space to discuss their future. We aim to help the world understand Afghanistan and the needs of the Afghan people.”." -Jason Criss Howk (USA ) GFA Director www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "For the last 20 years, Afghanistan has been gifted with help from around the world. There are people who love and care for it. GFA is a bridge between Afghans and their friends. I see GFA as an effective & influential platform for Afghanistan. " -Crystal Bayat (Afghanistan) GFA Scholar www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan "Afghanistan is a land of diverse people, cultures and ethnicities. If we want an Afghanistan free of violence, intolerance and terrorism, we must work to foster equal respect, human rights and protection for all people in Afghanistan."" -Sitarah M ohammadi (Afghanistan) GFA Fellow "It is imperative to mobilize through platforms such as GFA as the international community and media turns away from the Afghan crisis. We must take constructive steps collectively in tackling the urgent needs of the Afghan people." -Sara Wahedi (Afghanistan) GFA Scholar www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org @GFAfghanistan GF A 2022 Connecting Afghans with the world Global Friends of Afghanistan 1st Annual Conference September 1st 2022 ​ At: McDonough Business School, Rafik B. Hariri Building, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007, USA Twitter @GFAfghanistan www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org #Xspaces | @GFAfghanistan The IDEAS Shura: Assessing the impact of 'Herat' and 'Vienna' dialogues on Afghanistan Twitter Spaces | Wed Dec 13th | 9-10am EST | 6.30-7.30pm Afghanistan Jason Criss Howk GFA Director @jason_c_howk Aref Dostyar Kroc Institute @ArefDostyar Hosna Jalil @hosnajalil Annie Pforzheimer @pforzheimera GFA Fellows #Xspaces | @GFAfghanistan The future of governance in Afghanistan: What is the most realistic and stable type of government? Twitter Spaces | Fri Feb 2nd | 10am EST | 3pm GMT | 7.30pm Afghanistan Hosts: Guests Speakers: Jason Criss Howk GFA Director @jason_c_howk Habiba Sarabi @SarabiHabiba Hosna Jalil @hosnajalil Bilal Sarwary @bsarwary Najiba Ayobi Aref Dostyar Kroc Institute @ArefDostyar #IdeasShuraGFA #Afghanistan4All Twitter @GFAfghanistan www.globalfriendsofafghanistan.org Global Friends of Afghanistan 1st Annual Conference IDEAS SHURA With

  • Annual Conference 2022 | Global Friends of Af

    Please click the icon to download the conference report The videos of the conference are now on our GFA YouTube channel Click the logos to take you there Global Friends of Afghanistan 1st Annual Conference Save the Date: September 1st 2022 In partnership with Georgetown Master of Arts in International Business and Policy Programme with the McDonough School of Business and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. At: McDonough Business School, Rafik B. Hariri Building, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007, USA Conference Goal About the Annual Conference Keynote Speaker: United Nations Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan Richard Bennett For tickets click the link below: Global Friends of Afghanistan 1st Annual Conference Tickets, Thu, Sep 1, 2022 at 7:30 AM | Eventbrite In Partnership Conference Sponsors Conference Goal: Provide a collaborative forum for Afghans and their allies to reflect on the past year and identify opportunities to educate and engage policymakers, humanitarians, veterans, and the public on actions that can be taken to support and assist Afghans today and going forward. Objective 1: Acknowledge the grassroots efforts critical to the successful evacuation of Afghans last summer and identify opportunities to replicate and direct that energy toward renewed efforts to assist the Afghan people. Objective 2: Inform stakeholders about the current state of Afghan resettlement and the ongoing challenges faced by those still in Afghanistan. Objective 3: Motivate attendees to support new and continued efforts toward Afghan evacuation and resettlement and improving conditions within Afghanistan. Objective 4: Mobilize attendees to develop and act on concrete proposals to address key challenges over the next twelve months and report back at next year’s conference. Connecting Afghans with the world Conference Program Jump to a specific session by selecting the session title in the list immediately below or scroll further down to see the complete listing of sessions and speakers. 1 September 2022 Check-In and Breakfast 7.30-8.30 am Welcome and Introductions Professor Bradford Jensen , Georgetown University Director of International Business and Policy Program and McCrane/Shaker Chair in International Business and Director of the Business and Global Affairs Program Professor Jason Criss Howk , Director Global Friends of Afghanistan Click for the welcome video Opening Speaker Richard Bennett , UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan Click for the opening speaker Panel 1: Acknowledging the Afghanistan Evacuation Documentary Trailer Moderator: Tim Torres , GFA Fellow/Tillman Scholar Colonel Rahman Rahmani , former Afghan SMW Pilot Travis Peterson , Co-Founder of Moral Compass Federation Joy Shanaberger , Co-Founder of the Human First Coalition Daniel Elkins , Founder of Special Operations Association of America Nick Palmisciano , Co-Founder of Save Our Allies Kristie Cole , Vice President of Major Giving for UNICEF USA Click for Panel 1: Acknowledging the Afghanistan Evacuation Panel 2: Resettlement and Immigration Issues Moderator: Professor Katharine M. Donato, Georgetown University, Donald G. Herzberg Professor of International Migration, and Director, Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) Farishta Sakhi , Senior Program Manager at Freedom House Seyoum Berhe , State of Virginia, Refugee Coordinator Sarah Cady , Executive Director for Refugee and Immigrant Services, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area Wida Saber Popal, Afghan Refugee and Activist for Women's Education Kari McDonough, Senior Advisor to Welcome.US Click for the Panel 2: Resettlement and Immigration Issues Panel 3: Current Afghan Concerns Moderator: Annie Pforzheimer , GFA Fellow/Former DCM Kabul Mariam Solaimankhil , Member of Afghan Parliament Ashraf Haidari , Ambassador to Sri Lanka Crystal Bayat , Afghan Human Rights Advocate Lina Rozbih , Journalist Lt. General Haibatullah Alizai , the last Commanding General of the Afghan National Army Justine Fleischner , Director of Research for Afghan Peace Watch (APW) Click for Panel 3: Current Afghan Concerns Lunch Working Group Discussions Group A: Women and Girls in Afghanistan: Rights, Employment, and Education Group B: How to finish the evacuation of at-risk Afghans? Group C: The Future Governance of Afghanistan Group D: Supporting Afghans in Afghanistan: Humanitarian Crisis- Economic Collapse Group E: Afghan insecurity and terrorism threats Group F: Resettlement of Afghan refugees and immigrants Group G: New Paths for the Diplomatic community engaging the Taliban-Haqqani regime Working Group Findings Senior Observer Comments Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Mariam Solaimankhil , Member of Afghan Parliament Lima Halima Ahmad , Doctoral candidate Tufts University Lisa Curtis , Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS Jason Howk , Director of Global Friends of Afghanistan Click for the Working Group Findings and Senior Observer Comments Closing Messages Reception Close Full Details ​ Thursday, September 1st, 2022 ​ 0730 - 0830 – Check-In Breakfast 0830–0845 – Welcome and Introductions ​ Speakers: Introduction/Welcome Professor Bradford Jensen, Georgetown University Director of International Business and Policy Program and McCrane/Shaker Chair in International Business and Director of the Business and Global Affairs Program Bradford Jensen is McCrane/Shaker Chair in international business and professor of economics and international business at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a senior policy scholar at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Jensen’s work focuses on the relationship between international trade and investment and firm performance. His recent work examines the impact of trade in services on the U.S. economy. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His work has been published in scholarly journals including the American Economic Review, International Organization, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, and Harvard Business Review. Jensen’s research has been cited in popular press publications including the Economist, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fortune, and Business Week.Prior to joining Georgetown in 2007, Jensen served as deputy director at the Peterson Institute. Jensen has also served as director of the Center for Economic Studies at the U.S. Census Bureau, on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, and as a visiting professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Jensen received his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University and B.A. from Kalamazoo College. Professor Jason Criss Howk – Global Friends of Afghanistan Co-Founder and Director ; award-winning writer: U.S. War Options in Afghanistan; The Qur’an: A Modern Chronological Interpretation; A Case Study in SSR: SSR in Afghanistan; Ali’s American Dream: An Iraqi Refugee’s Story of Survival and Triumph; Leaders Always Go A Little Further…Unless They Trip. Master of Arts in South Asia and Middle East Security Studies, Naval Postgraduate School. Malone Fellow in Arab and Islamic Studies, and was a Term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He studied Arabic and Dari at DLI, and has focused on Afghanistan topics and engagement since 2002. He is a retired U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer, and a professor at the USAF Special Operations School, he also lectures at various institutes. 0845 - 0900 – Opening Speaker: Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan Richard Bennett – United Nations UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan. Human rights expert with over 30 years of human rights and leadership experience in the United Nations, civil society and national human rights institutions, civil society, especially in conflict, post-conflict, and fragile environments. Long term experience in Afghanistan. Areas of expertise include human rights monitoring, documentation, reporting and advocacy; transitional justice; political and policy analysis, conflict analysis; team leadership and management; programme implementation; evaluation and organizational development; strategic planning. Master of Arts in Social Anthropology from University of Auckland. ​ ​ 0900 - 1000 – Panel 1. Acknowledging the Afghanistan Evacuation ​ Introduction: 0900-0903: A trailer for a documentary on the Afghan Evacuation. Moderator: Tim Torres , GFA Fellow/Tillman Scholar Tim served in the 75th Ranger Regiment deploying 11 times in support of combat operations in a decade, literally growing up in Afghanistan. His time in special operations evolved Tim’s views on the war’s impact and its lasting devastation on all who experienced it. Tim drastically altered his career path by volunteering for diplomatic roles within the Army. This time with the mission to end and prevent armed conflict. During negotiations to support the Afghan peace process, Tim sat across from the same Taliban fighters he had previously faced on the battlefield. This experience motivated Tim to pursue a master of arts in international business and policy at Georgetown University. Tim currently is the chair for this conference and is leading a research team at Georgetown University, studying the August 2021 evacuation to tell the story about how the private sector and veterans created a network of networks in the midst of the crisis. Panellists: Colonel Rahman Rahmani , former Afghan SMW Pilot – A former officer in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Rahmani worked tirelessly on evacuations and resettlement while a student at the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, Washington DC. He previously worked as the head of International Sanctions and Terrorism in and in the Presidential Information Coordination Center at the Office of the National Security Council, Presidential Palace, Afghanistan. He is a writer and helicopter pilot who was just given asylum in the United States. Rahmani is a graduate of the Expeditionary Warfare School from Marine Corps University in 2017 and has a BA in Social Philosophy from Kabul University. Travis Peterson , Co-Founder Moral Compass Federation – Travis Peterson is a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant and founding member of the Moral Compass Federation. Travis served in the USAF for 21 years. After 9/11, Peterson began his flying career as a Special Missions Aviator flying combat search and rescue on the HH-60G Pave Hawk completing five deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, he joined the 6th Special Operations Squadron as a Special Operations Combat Aviation Advisor focused on foreign internal defense, FID, aiding partner nations with aviation tactics for integration and interoperability. He flew primarily Russian-built Mi-17 and Huey helicopters. He was finally tasked from SOCOM to Afghanistan's Air Interdiction Unit. He facilitated the initiation of the Special Mission Wing, spending the remainder of his career in support of SMW. Joy Shanaberger , Co-Founder Human First Coalition – Joy is the founder & CEO of a tech-enabled firm delivering intelligent automation and emerging technology to clients. On August 19th, her company converted its HQ space to serve as the Human First command center. Joy is frequently sought after for her ability to turn strategic theory into successful, detailed tactical approaches that move the needle for her clients. Prior to founding her firm, Joy worked in a variety of roles across multiple industries. In addition to leading growth and execution, Joy is a Board Member for the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, Forbes Business Council member, a certified yoga instructor, mentor for transitioning servicemen and women and their families, and spends much of her free time training as a USA boxing amateur for an annual charity boxing match benefiting the military and veteran communities. Daniel Elkins , Mr. Elkins is the founder of the Special Operations Association of America (SOAA), the only Veterans Service Organization in Washington D.C that engages in policy and advocacy on behalf of all of the men and women in the Special Operations community and their families. Aiming to be “a voice for all members of the Special Operations community” on Capitol Hill, SOAA fights for those who fight for us, ensuring mission success for those that bear the greater burden. Daniel and SOAA were instrumental during August 2021 in support of the Kabul evacuation and larger resettlement efforts. Nick Palmisciano , Co-Founder Save Our Allies- Nick Palmisciano is the CEO of Diesel Jack Media, a full-service marketing agency, focused on creating cutting edge content in both the film and commercial spaces. Nick is also the Vice President and one of four founding board members of Save Our Allies, an effort that rescued 12,000 refugees in the final 10 days of the Afghanistan Mission. He was one of the twelve men that physically went to Kabul to assist with the evacuation. He spent the best and hardest six years of his life serving as an infantry officer in the United States Army. In 2006, Nick created Ranger Up, the first military lifestyle brand, which kicked off a decade of veteran entrepreneurial endeavors focused around digital marketing and social media. ​ Kristie Cole currently serves as the Vice President for Major Gifts for UNICEF USA and as the CEO/Co-Founder of FORE. In her role for UNICEF, she oversees the fundraising efforts of a team of more than 40 across the United States to secure $100M+ annually for UNICEF’s programming in support of the world’s children. As the CEO and Co-Founder of FORE, a public benefit corporation that leverages its AI-driven technology and data analytics capabilities to tackle humanity's most pressing challenges, Kristie provides strategic vision for the company and leads its business development efforts. Last August, while serving as the Chief Development Officer for Georgetown's School of Foreign Service and as a student in Georgetown's IBP program, Kristie volunteered her time to raise funds and to assist with the Afghanistan evacuation effort and raised more than $8M in less than a week for several non-profits. Since then, Kristie has served as part of a research team at Georgetown University studying the August 2021 evacuation in an effort to capture the historical narrative of what happened during those two weeks and the lessons learned 0945-1000 Why the Personal Commitment Matters and Will in the Future? Nick Ochsner Nick Ochsner is a Gold Star son whose dad was killed in Afghanistan in November 2015 while serving his fourth tour in the country with 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). When Kabul fell back under Taliban control in August 2021, Nick penned an editorial published by CNN reflecting on the sacrifice his dad and countless others made in service to the Afghan people. Nick is the chief investigative reporter for WBTV, the CBS station in Charlotte, N.C. and is the co-author of The Vote Collectors: The true story of the scamsters, politicians, and preachers behind the nation's greatest electoral fraud. He and his wife, Sarah Blake Morgan, a journalist and 2nd lieutenant in the US Army Reserve, live in Charlotte with their dogs Zara--who was adopted from the Kabul Small Animal Rescue--and Murrow. ​ 1000 - 1015 – Break ​ ​ 1015 - 1115 – Panel 2. Resettlement and Immigration Issues Introduction: Moderator: Professor Katharine M. Donato , Donald G. Herzberg Professor of International Migration, and Director, Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) - Katharine M. Donato holds the Donald G. Herzberg Chair in International Migration and is Director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her research addresses many research questions related to global migration. Among her most recent work are new edited volumes on the landscape of U.S. legal migration and refugee integration in Canada, Europe and the United States. Her most recent books include (co-authored with Elizabeth Ferris) Refugees, Migration and Global Governance: Negotiating the Global Compacts, and (co-authored with Donna Gabaccia) Gender and International Migration: From the Slavery Era to the Global Age. She is the Principal Investigator on a new project about the assimilation and mobility experiences of U.S. immigrant adults who entered as unaccompanied children (funded by the Russell Sage Foundation). She is also co-Principal Investigator on a project that examines how environmental conditions affect out-migration from communities in southwestern Bangladesh (funded by the National Science Foundation). In 2017-18, Professor Donato was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty, she was on the faculty of Vanderbilt and Rice Universities. ​ Panellists: Farishta Sakhi - Senior Program Manager, Freedom House, A native of Afghanistan, Farishta started working for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) twenty years ago, co-founded a women’s rights NGO in Herat in the mid-2000s, consulted for several well-regarded firms and organizations (such as World Bank, USAID and EU), served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2013-2016) at the level of Director General /Senior Advisor for Afghanistan Peace and Security Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Party for Internews in Kabul in 2017. She has also taught at the American University of Afghanistan, where she lost students in the August 2016 terrorist attack. She earned her BA in Commerce from Baluchistan University and an Executive MBA from Preston University - both in Pakistan - and a Master’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. She is a PhD candidate in the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She also remains a fellow at the International Center for Transitional Justice and is a current fellow of the Rumsfeld Foundation. She also served as a key advocate for Human Rights and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan for more than two decades. Sarah Cady - Executive Director for Refugee and Immigrant Services Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, Sarah, has led the cross-state team since March 2022. Sarah brings over 20 years of experience working with foreign-born populations in the education, health, and refugee resettlement arenas. Sarah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, and speaks French. Sarah has served as a refugee case manager, job developer, and director of programs at the local and national level. Most recently Sarah oversaw the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) Alexandria, Virginia temporary office. Wida Saber Popal - Afghan Refugee and Activist for Women's Education . Wida was a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) , the eight national Federation Chambers of Commerce and Industry member states of SAARC laureate from 2017 until 2022. During her career in Afghanistan, she served as a senior advisor to the Ministry of Justice of Afghanistan . In addition, She worked as the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the Presidential Palace, Which has played a vital role in reducing administrative corruption in the Afghan government. Wida was evacuated to the United States after the fall of Kabul. She spent the first six months of her life in a US army base at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. During her time in the camp, she did not give up on her dream of educating girls. Wida setup programs to teach language, math, and mediation classes for Afghan girls in the camp. Wida is a psychologist. She is currently studying for her second master's degree in psychology at George Mason University. Due to the psychological effects of war in Afghanistan and the confusion of leaving their homeland, Wida used her training to help combat the effects of trauma and PTSD in the camps. ​ Kari McDonough serves as Senior Advisor to Welcome.US, a national initiative built to inspire, mobilize, and empower Americans from all corners to welcome and support those seeking refuge here, beginning with our new Afghan and Ukrainian neighbors. . Prior to her role at Welcome.US, Kari served as President and Co-Founder of Vets’ Community Connections, a community-based initiative designed to involve a greater number of individuals in the support of veteran and military families. She also worked as a management consultant for Accenture, assisting government, private industry and non-profit clients to design, develop and implement large organization change, and with the Council on Foundations optimizing grant maker and corporate giving programs. ​ ​Seyoum Berhe - State of Virginia Refugee Coordinator, Born in small farming village on the Eritrean border, he came to the United States during a time of political unrest to attend college. He has worked in the field of refugee resettlement for the past 25 years and is currently the state refugee resettlement coordinator with Virginia's Office of Newcomer Services. ​ ​ Video from an Afghan refugee camp overseas ​ 1115 - 1130 – Break ​ 1130 - 1300 – Panel 3. Current Afghan Issues Introduction: Moderator: Annie Pforzheimer , GFA Fellow. A retired career diplomat from the U.S. Department of State, Annie Pforzheimer is a senior non-resident associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Annie was acting deputy assistant secretary of state for Afghanistan and deputy chief of mission in Kabul. Her 30-year diplomatic career focused on security, rule of law, and human rights policy. She also served in South Africa, El Salvador, Turkey, Colombia, and Mexico. Panelists: Mariam Solaimankhil , Member of Parliament, As champion of human rights and transparent governance Mariam served in Afghanistan’s Parliament representing the Kuchis/Nomads until the collapse of the Republic in August 2021. Undeterred by violence in Afghanistan Mariam left her Los Angeles business to try to better her ancestral nation. She campaigned for change in Afghanistan as an elected official, and also coordinated international relations for the office of the President for many years. She holds a BS in Communications and Media Studies from California State University and is a Global Friends of Afghanistan Fellow. Ashraf Haidari, Ambassador to Sri Lanka , M. Ashraf Haidari is the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, and concurrently served as the Director-General of the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP) until recently. He was the Director-General of Policy and Strategy of the MFA from 2015-2018 and Afghanistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission (Minister-Counselor) to India for three years. He also served as Deputy NSA for Policy and Oversight in the Office of the President and from 2004-2011 served at the Embassy of Afghanistan in the US as Chargé d’Affaires, Deputy Chief of Mission, Political Counselor, and Acting Defense Attaché. He is a writer, analyst, and TV and radio commentator. He holds a MA in Security Studies from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, and a BA from Wabash College in Indiana. During 2002-2003, Ambassador Haidari was a Fellow in Foreign Service at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service. Crystal Bayat , Human Rights advocate, A native of Ghazni province, was named to the BBC 100 Women 2021 list for her social activist and human-rights advocacy, which figured prominently in protests against the Taliban takeover in 2021. She grew up most of her life with democracy and positive societal changes. She is continuing the fight to preserve Afghan human rights as an agent of change.Crystal earned a BA in Political Science from Daulat from Ram College in Delhi, and holds a master's degree from the United Nations Institute in Delhi. In 2021, Bayat started her PhD at Delhi University in Political Management but her program was cut short due to the Taliban takeover. Lina Rozbih , Journalist, Lina is a managing editor and anchor at VOA. She joined Voice of America in 2003 as a broadcast journalist for VOA Afghanistan Service’s radio shows. Since then, she has served in various TV and radio support and leadership positions, including editor, lead-anchor, and managing editor for programs in the Dari language. Her in-depth knowledge of Afghan politics and her linguistic ability is evident in the quality of the service’s programs she sought to infuse with a diversity of views and multicultural perspectives. She is an acclaimed and award-winning Afghan writer and poet in the Dari language, and is the author of The Promise of Paradise, a collection of poems published in India and available in the U.S. through Amazon.com. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Concordia University and a second degree in communications, media and cinema from Vanier College in Montreal, Canada. Lt General Haibatullah Alizai , A native of Helmand province who attended National Police Academy in Kabul and the Advanced Command & Staff Course Defense Academy of the United Kingdom. First serving Afghanistan as a Police Officer, he focused on internal investigations for insider threats and championed humanitarian efforts for persons in custody. Transferring to the National Directorate for Security, he was meritoriously promoted to Colonel and served as Director of Operations for the Joint Special Operations Coordination Center. He was asked to join the Ministry of Defense as Director General for Military Operations where he consolidated organizations that previously operated in a silo. He took command of the 209th Northern Army Corps and later Afghan Special Operations Corps Commander to quell the Taliban Northern offensive amid the Afghanistan War. As the Chief of General Staff for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense from 11-15 August, he provided critical leadership to manage the tactical retreat of all troops still fighting in losing provinces. He continued to lead from Hamid Karzai International Airport, supporting evacuation efforts until the US Military airlift ceased. Justine Fleischner , is a conflict analyst and researcher with over a decade of experience working in countries affected by armed conflict and terrorism. She currently serves as Director of Research for Afghan Peace Watch. Previously, she led weapon tracing operations in Afghanistan, where she embedded dozens of times with Afghan security forces until just weeks before the collapse. Before that, she spent six years tracing weapons in East Africa and the Horn. She has conducted field research in Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda. Her areas of expertise include sources of state fragility and violence, armed group dynamics, counter-proliferation, and counter-terrorism research. She has also provided training and technical advice to national governments and partners on the UN Arms Trade Treaty. She holds a master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. ​ Close with a recent video of women protestors in Kabul, Afghanistan. 1300 - 1310 – Working Group Instructions 1300 - 1400 – Luncheon with Networking / Working Group Preparation (Sponsors TBA) 1400 - 1530 – Working Group Sessions: Group A: Women and Girls in Afghanistan: Rights, Employment, and Education Room: Leaders: Jess Keller and Lina Tori Jan, Georgetown University Onward for Afghan Women an initiative of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) Participants: Group B: How to finish the evacuation of at-risk Afghans? Room: Leaders: Loren Voss, No One Left Behind Participants: Group C: The future governance of Afghanistan Room: Leaders: Yalda Royan , Diversity, Equity and Inclusion professional Nazila Jamshidi Jason Criss Howk, GFA Director Participants: Group D: Supporting Afghans in Afghanistan: Humanitarian Crisis- Economic Collapse Room: Leaders: Crystal Bayat and Ron Smith Participants: Jeffrey Grieco, Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce Group E: Afghan insecurity and terrorism threats Room: Leaders: Justine Fleischner Douglas Ramsdell, GFA Advisory Participants: Group F: Resettlement of Afghan refugees and immigrants Room: Leaders: John Agoglia, GFA Deputy Director for Partnerships Mariah Smith, Vice Chairman, No One Left Behind Participants: John Safi, GFA Advisory Committee Group G: New Paths for the Diplomatic community engaging the Taliban-Haqqani regime Room: Leaders: Ambassador Ashraf Haidari Annie Pforzheimer, GFA Fellow Participants: ​ 1530 - 1655 – Working Group Findings and Recommendations ​ Moderator: Jason Criss Howk, GFA Director 1530 - 1540 – Group A Findings: Women and Girls in Afghanistan: Rights, Employment, and Education 1540 - 1550 – Group B Findings: How to finish the evacuation of at-risk Afghans? 1550 - 1600 – Group C Findings: The future governance of Afghanistan ​ 1600 - 1610 – Group D Findings: Supporting Afghans in Afghanistan: Humanitarian Crisis/ Economic Collapse 1610 - 1620 – Group E Findings: Afghan insecurity and terrorism threats 1620 - 1630 – Group F Findings: Resettlement of Afghan refugees and immigrants 1630 - 1640 – Group G Findings: New Paths for the Diplomatic community engaging the Taliban-Haqqani regime 1640 - 1655 – Conference Conclusion Panel and Way Forward ​ ​ Hosted by: Jason Criss Howk and Mariam Solaimankhil Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security- Ambassador Melanne Verveer is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. She most recently served as the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, a position to which she was nominated by President Obama in 2009. She coordinated foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women, traveling to nearly sixty countries, and helped develop the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Ambassador Verveer also served as the former Special Representative on Gender Issues for the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. Lisa Curtis, Lisa Curtis is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS. She is a foreign policy and national security expert with over 20 years of service in the U.S. government, including at the National Security Council (NSC), CIA, State Department, and Capitol Hill. Her work has centered on U.S. policy toward the Indo-Pacific and South Asia, with a particular focus on U.S.-India strategic relations; Quad (United States, Australia, India, and Japan) cooperation; counterterrorism strategy in South and Central Asia; and China’s role in the region. Lima Halima Ahmad, Doctoral candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, an Asia Society 21 Fellow, and a research fellow at the Fletcher Center for Security Studies. Lima is the author of a globally praised examination of women’s rights in Afghanistan for Foreign Policy magazine: https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/08/14/afghan-women-vicitims-911-aid-agency-western-paternalism/ 1655 - 1700 – Closing Comments: ​ Jason Criss Howk, GFA Director ​ 1700 - 1815 – Reception (Sponsors TBA) ​ Artlords Afghan Art Display: ArtLords was established in 2014. It is a global grassroots movement of artivists motivated by the desire to pave the way for social transformation and behavioral change through employing the soft power of art and culture as a non-intrusive approach. ​ ​ Hosted by Georgetown University and Global Friends of Afghanistan Jason Crystal Lina Rozibh Lt. General Haibatullah Alizai Fleischner Melanne Verveer Ambassador Ashraf Mariam Solaimankhil Annie Pforzheimer Seyoum Berhe Sarah Cady Farishta Donato Nick Palmisciano Daniel Elkins Shanaberger Travis Peterson Rahman Rahmani Tim Torres Richard Bennett Connecting Afghans with the world

  • Ideas Shura | Global Friends of Af

    What is the Ideas Shura? The Ideas Shura is a Global Friends of Afghanistan initiative that aims to provide a platform for Afghan youth residing inside and outside the country to share their opinions and proposals with the people of Afghanistan (primarily) and the international community (secondarily) on important policy questions about their country. All young people under the age of 29, either individually or in groups, are eligible to participate in this essay-writing initiative and other projects. NEW "Their inconsistent behaviour on the global stage has systematically eroded their credibility and trustworthiness as diplomatic partners. This has led to scepticism among the international community, raising doubts about their suitability for future governance." Quotes from the Ideas Shura ​ Khalid N: "The challenges that Afghanistan faces in its quest for stable governance are multifaceted and complex. While the past has shown that extreme ideologies and hastily introduced democracies fall short of meeting the Afghan people's needs, an intermediate Islamic governance model offers a potential path forward. By blending Islamic principles with modern governance ideals, this model aims to build a society that is tolerant, just, and prosperous, reflecting the true aspirations of the Afghan people. It's a synthesis that recognizes Afghanistan's unique context and the universal values that can guide its future towards a more stable and harmonious era." Khadija I: "The future government needs first to gain people's trust, then gradually move to a decentralized government to help our war-torn nation stand back on its feet. By gradual process, the first and foremost step is to draft a constitution that would highly revere the rights of people. The constitution should be drafted to make all the nation believe that we are part of the upcoming change in Afghanistan once they feel that they will feel responsible towards the nation and government. The next step would be for the future government to refrain from using terminologies or speeches stating that we are a federal government. They should first come up with speeches or terminology that is acceptable to the people of Afghanistan. For example, if they say we want a federal system, the word “federal” was always controversial and used negatively in Afghanistan. After that, there should be elections at the district level. The district council needs to feel they are needed in the government. So, once we have elected members at the district level, then from these elected members, they should elect provincial council members. Then, after all that, without changing the district and provincial boundaries, we need to develop a strategy for bringing several provinces under one region." Nasrin: "Safeguarding human rights means Safeguarding freedom of expression and media- the right to access information through independent media that can hold power accountable and facilitate public discourse Human rights are safeguarding the rights of the minority, gender equality-equal rights, and opportunities for women and girls, including access to education and participation in decision-making processes. There is lack of any political commitment to the values of human rights right now in Afghanistan and its exclusion as a civic doctrine in textbooks and curriculums of the educational system, instead, terrorist and extremist indoctrination through corrupted/distorted education systems has taken place. Sabawoon: "Suppression of civil resistance and women’s rights: In Kabul and beyond, brave women have taken to the streets to demand their rights and a more equitable future. However, instead of listening to their pleas, the Taliban responded with brutal force. Women activists have faced violent crackdowns, arbitrary arrests, imprisonment, and even torture. Minority Rights: The Taliban's stark division of the Afghan nation into "us" and "them" , The Taliban and the Afghan nation has further perpetuated the perception of nationwide marginalization. This division is symbolically highlighted by their treatment of national symbols, designating their flag as the flag of "Amarat-e-Islami" and the tri-color national flag as the flag of Afghanistan. They explicitly state that the Afghan nation should adhere to one set of norms while the Taliban adhere to another. This symbolic gesture starkly reflects their exclusionary ideology, which manifests itself in their governance. Exclusion: The Taliban's exclusivity is evident in their refusal to grant employment opportunities to anyone outside their ranks. This situation results in their members monopolizing jobs and positions of power. A clear illustration of this is the fact that virtually all government seats and jobs are held by Mullahs and Akhunds, with little regard for professionalism in these roles." Anonymous: نرخ بی‌سوادی در افغانستان بالاست، دسترسی به برق و خدمات مخابراتی و شبکه اینترنت نیز محدود است، فرهنگ سنتی و ارزش‌های قبیله‌ای همچنان به جای قانون عمل می‌کند و یک دولت متعهد به ارزش‌های حقوق بشری که اراده‌ای برای ترویج همگانی آن داشته باشد، وجود ندارد. فقدان یک تعهد سیاسی قوی در قبال ارزش‌های حقوق بشری در عین حال، مانع گنجاندن آن به مثابه یک آموزه مدنی در متن کتب درسی یا نظام آموزشی شده‌است و چه بسا جای آن را آموزه‌های ضد حقوق بشری و افراط‌گرایانه گرفته‌است. ​ Rashid Amiri: "The longer the Taliban remain in power, the more they will pose a serious threat to global security and the security of regional countries. The Taliban’s current and past actions represent their future role in Afghanistan. While there are still a group of Afghans who support the Taliban despite their inhumane actions, we should always remember that their other ethnicities in Afghanistan, such as Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, etc., are not at peace and their rights are being egregiously violated." ​ Sabawon Durani: Reports of the Taliban's stringent policies, particularly those infringing on women's rights and individual freedoms, highlight their prioritization of military tactics over governance, presenting significant challenges to their transition into a legitimate government. As a result of their limited education and exposure, the Taliban faces significant challenges in effectively governing Afghanistan. Their decision-making processes, policy formulation, and implementation often lack the depth and sophistication required for modern governance. The absence of political pluralism and the suppression of diverse political voices within Afghanistan have fuelled concerns about the Taliban's willingness to embrace democratic values. Their preference for a single-party system and lack of inclusivity have further eroded international trust. Internal unity among the Taliban has deteriorated, with various factions often prioritizing personal interests over a shared national vision. The leadership lacks a common purpose and frequently finds itself in disagreement, leading to disunity in critical areas such as decision-making and strategic objectives. It becomes evident that the future political role of the Taliban in Afghanistan is at a crossroads. The path they choose will determine whether they dissolve into irrelevance or actively participate in shaping the future democracy of the nation. Their inconsistent behaviour on the global stage has systematically eroded their credibility and trustworthiness as diplomatic partners. This has led to scepticism among the international community, raising doubts about their suitability for future governance. Past conflicts have left loyal fighters disillusioned and disheartened, resulting in an alarming exodus from their ranks. This internal discord undermines their unity and public support." ​ Zabi Arbab: "A change in the political status quo of Afghanistan is crucial. Educated and skilled leaders who are knowledgeable about governance should be identified to lead this change." Zabiullah Arbab on an alternative to Taliban: “To identify individuals that are administration and governance potent and can make an alternative to Taliban, a mechanism may be implemented. This can be a program like the Ideas Shura where talented individuals can gather, share comments and proposals for a list of issues and may be evaluated by certified and professional people. the executors of this program can be group of NGOs or UN entities, the outcome of this program later be shared, and these new faces can contribute in government Faces that already had participation in previous regimes may be excluded of this group and not given a chance to participate due to their failure in previous roles or a connection to previous official” Introduction The Ideas Shura is an initiative that aims to provide a platform for Afghan youth residing inside and outside the country to share their opinions and proposals with the people of Afghanistan (primarily) and the international community (secondarily) on important policy questions about their country. All young people under the age of 29, either individually or in groups, are eligible to participate in this essay-writing initiative. Call for Submissions The Ideas Shura invites all young people from Afghanistan inside and outside the country to submit essays in line with the guidelines. Guidelines English Guidelines Pashto Guidelines Persian Send your thoughts to: ideass h ura@globalfriendsofafghanistan.org

  • About GFA | Global Friends of Af

    مهمتنا ورؤيتنا المهمة: Global Friends of Afghanistan (GFA) هي منظمة تعليمية غير هادفة للربح تتألف من تحالف من قادة من مختلف القطاعات الحكومية وغير الحكومية. نهدف إلى تثقيف الناس حول التاريخ والثقافة والأحداث الجارية التي تؤثر على أفغانستان. وهذا يشمل بناء الوعي حول الاحتياجات الإنسانية والإنمائية والأمنية والتعليمية لشعب أفغانستان. الرؤية: GFA تقدر حقوق الإنسان والمبادئ الديمقراطية والاستقرار العالمي وقوة التفكير المتنوع في جميع المجتمعات. تساعد Global Friends الشركاء الذين يحاولون الحفاظ على التقدم الذي تم إحرازه في أفغانستان على مدار العشرين عامًا الماضية وحمايته من قبل الأفغان والولايات المتحدة والمجتمع الدولي. 1.) نحن نركز حاليًا على كسب الدعم لاستقرار أفغانستان وحقوق الإنسان من خلال إبقاء القضايا الأفغانية ذات صلة: كما ندعم الإخلاء وإعادة التوطين السريع والعادل ودمج جميع الشركاء الأفغان المؤهلين في المجتمع. 2.) الأصدقاء العالميون سيزيدون المعرفة الأمريكية والأوروبية بأفغانستان. كانت المنطقة تاريخياً بؤرة اشتعال رئيسية للصراع وانعدام الأمن العالمي. سيقدم زملاؤنا المشورة ويقودون المناقشات حول الاحتياجات المجتمعية / الإنسانية في أفغانستان ، والإرهاب ، وتهريب المخدرات ، والمخاطر على الديمقراطية في المنطقة ، وعلاقة باكستان مع الجماعات الإرهابية مثل نظام طالبان وحقاني في كابول ، ومواضيع أخرى. 3.) Global Friends يعزز قدرات الأفغان والأمريكيين الأفغان والأفغان في الشتات. نحن نوفر وسيلة للأفغان للمشاركة مع الحكومات والمنظمات البحثية والسياسية والإنسانية في جميع أنحاء العالم. 4.) يساعد GFA في الترويج للأفكار الجديدة والتعاون بين المنظمات المهتمة بتطوير أفغانستان التي توفر حقوق الإنسان لجميع المواطنين. الأفغان يعانون في جميع أنحاء العالم. تأمل منظمة Global Friends أن تكون قادرة على تزويدهم بمواقع لبناء أفغانستان أفضل. نحن نهدف إلى منح الأفغان مساحة لتطوير مستقبل أفضل في الأوقات المضطربة. حالة.

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