19
November

We’re hiring! Position open in our Kabul office

Update (December 15, 2011): We are no longer accepting applications for this position. Foundation for Afghanistan Logo Symbol

The Foundation for Afghanistan is hiring for the following position. Interested candidates please refer to this announcement and send your applications no later than December 1, 2011.

 

Job title: Executive Director, Afghanistan

Contract duration: Indefinite – multi-year

Job summary
The Foundation for Afghanistan is looking for a motivated self-starter to work as our Executive Director in Afghanistan. The Foundation for Afghanistan is a nonprofit organization registered and based in Washington, DC and Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Foundation is an alliance between Afghans and their global friends committed to promoting human capacity in Afghanistan. Projects include, among other things, scholarships for Afghan students at Afghan and U.S. universities, advanced professional training programs, grants to local Afghan NGOs.

The Foundation will be vigorously expanding its operations over the next few months to years. The ideal candidate will be a dynamic manager with experience in dealing with people at the highest levels, skilled in mainstream information technology products and services, and fluent in local languages.

Job description
The Executive Director will be the Foundation’s main presence in Afghanistan and will perform all tasks critical to its operations. In particular, their duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Working with the Foundation’s President and the Executive Director in Washington, DC, and with the Foundation’s Advisory Board in Afghanistan
  • Designing and supervising the implementation of programs
  • Managing and expanding the Foundation’s contact network among NGOs, universities, high schools, businesses, the government, intellectual circles, the media, professional associations and elsewhere
  • Managing financial controls to ensure accountability and transparency
  • Representing the Foundation to experts, the public, the media and others
  • Actively implementing the Foundation’s programs, including the outreach and recruitment for its scholarship and professional development programs
  • Hiring staff and establishing offices in Kabul and elsewhere as necessary

Key skills, qualifications and characteristics

  • Must be an Afghan national and fluent in English and Dari or Pashto
  • Five to eight years management experience, preferably in fast-growing and complex organizations
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher, or adequate professional experience
  • Self-starting, operates independently but works closely with the U.S. operation
  • Good existing network of contacts in Afghanistan
  • Previous exposure to NGOs, preferably related to development
  • Ability to reach out and work effectively with different ethnic, religious, tribal and political groups
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Competence in basic financial management
  • Comfortable in the use of office software, the internet and internet-based platforms such as Skype, blogging, emails, etc.
  • Highest commitment to integrity

Salary and compensation
Salary will be competitive by industry standards and commensurate with experience.

How to apply
Please send your CV/resume and a one-page cover letter explaining why you are a good match for this position to applications@foundationforafghanistan.org. Deadline is December 1, 2011.

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14
November

Deadline extended: scholarships in the U.S for Afghan students

Deadline extended

Although we continue to receive applications for our scholarship program, we have decided to extend our deadline from November 15 to December 15, 2011. A significant number of our applicants need more time to prepare the application, particularly the TOEFL/IELTS component of it.

If you have already taken the test and are awaiting your results, please go ahead and submit everything else now and send in your TOEFL scores when you receive them. For the quickest processing, please have ETS send your TOEFL scores directly to us at the following address:

Foundation for Afghanistan
1212 New York Ave., NW, Suite 825
Washington, DC 20005

Also, please read the following information carefully as it contains answers to most of the frequently asked questions:

  • Please note that if you are registered to take the TOEFL or IELTS in January, you may have to apply for next year’s scholarships. There will be no further extension of our deadline for this year.
  • If you have already submitted all of your application materials, you should have received an email confirmation. We will contact you within a week after December 15 if you are shortlisted.
  • We cannot, under any circumstances, waive the TOEFL/IELTS/SAT requirement, even if you have certificates about your English language skills. We only require international TOEFL, not institutional scores.
If you still have questions, please email us at info@foundationforafghanistan.org.
Best of luck!

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26
October

Clean the capital campaign

Our Advisory Board member and Mayor of Kabul Mohammad Yunus Nawandish announced the launch of a public cleaning campaign. Residents of Kabul will be requested to join the campaign to keep the nation’s capital clean and help restore its former beauty.

The campaign will kick off on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 8:30 a.m., when Mayor Nawandish will lead a group of his staff and Kabul residents on a cleaning drive from the Eidgah Mosque.

Mayor Mohammad Yunus Nawandish

Mohammad Yunus Nawandish, mayor of Kabul and member of the Foundation for Afghanistan's Advisory Board.

In a message on his Facebook wall, Mayor Nawandish called on the residents of the capital to join the campaign.

“I hope you will do your share for your city by participating in large numbers,” he said on Facebook.

The campaign will also start at various points in the capital at 8:30 a.m. and will continue until noon. Kabulis interested in lending a hand with the campaign can refer to their nearest district office.

Mayor Nawandish is popular with many in Kabul and is known for actively engaging with citizens through personal visits, aid programs and city improvement projects. He is also active on social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook.

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21
October

Highlights from our Friends of Afghanistan Networking Event

The Foundation for Afghanistan organized a networking event on the evening of Oct. 20 in Washington, DC to bring together Afghans and non-Afghans who work or are interested in Afghanistan.

Foundation for Afghanistan Symbol

Hosted by the Foundation’s President Ambassador Jawad, the event featured attendees from a diverse array of backgrounds, including government, civil society, the private sector, students and journalists. Some of the organizations with attendees included the U.S. State Department, the Afghan Medical Professionals Association of America, the Afghan Trusted Network, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Royal Bank of Canada and others.

It was the second in a series of networking events the Foundation has organized this year to facilitate interaction and exchange among Afghans, Afghan-Americans and others with an active interest in Afghanistan.

Food from the Afghan-owned Bamiyan Restaurant kept the event attendees fueled. The Afghan-American-owned Local 16 Restaurant had graciously made its rooftop deck available for the event, making it a perfect venue for a beautiful evening.

We are grateful for the help and support of all our partners, and we thank everyone who came to the event and made it a success.

The Foundation is going to host future events like this. If you wish to stay informed about our events and activities, you can connect with us through the following:

 

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11
October

College education in the US: a short guide for Afghan students

Many of the applicants to our scholarship program have questions about how college or university works in the US. We are attempting to answer some of those questions in this article.

University vs. college

A college is an institution of higher learning that typically offers associate or bachelor’s degrees only; that is, it offers up to four years of education after high school. A university offers a bachelor’s degree and above, typically master’s and doctorate (PhD) degrees. 

College eligibility and admission

A student who has finished year 12 of high school becomes eligible to enter college or university for a bachelor’s degree. Like the kankor exam, most American colleges and universities require that students take either the SAT or the ACT test for admission.

For most international students — students who are not American — often the TOEFL or IELTS test is also required. (The Foundation for Afghanistan’s scholarship program only requires the TOEFL or the IELTS — SAT or ACT are not required.) Even if you have a certificate of English language from a good language center, you still need to take the TOEFL test. That is because it is a standard test that everyone from around the world takes; it measures English proficiency better than people taking tests with different levels of difficulty.

Sometimes, if a student’s score on the SAT or ACT is high, or if the student went to high school in the U.S., the student may not be required to have TOEFL

There is no “passing mark” on these tests, so you should try to score as high as possible. And there is usually no absolute required minimum, so not everyone above a certain score is accepted. Admission is very competitive – especially for scholarships – and colleges and universities look at a student’s test scores and high school marks to decide if they want to admit that student.

 

Scholarships

Students who cannot pay their full college fees will need to have scholarships. Competition is very strong for scholarships because thousands of very qualified students from around the world are looking for scholarships. Typically, a scholarship consists of the following:

  • Full scholarship: This typically means that a student does not have to pay tuition fees, room fees, or board fees (food). Sometimes a full scholarship also means the student doesn’t have to pay for health insurance and other fees such as technology, activity, etc.
  • Tuition scholarship: This typically means that the student will not pay all or a some of the tuition fee, but will still have to pay for their room and board.
  • Room or board: This means the student won’t have to pay for their dorm room (hostel, or lailia) and on-campus food.

Remember that even with a full scholarship, the student will be responsible for some expenses like textbooks, personal expenses, travel and recreation. Check out the scholarships and other opportunities available through the Foundation for Afghanistan.

 

Studying in a U.S. College

When you become a student in a U.S. college or university, you will have greater freedom and responsibility to choose the classes you take. A field of study is called a “major,” which usually has a few “required courses” that everyone has to take. But students also have the choice to take a set number of other courses, related to the major, that are not required but are “electives.”

In addition, if you are in a liberal arts college, you will have to also take a number of classes outside the major. These are called the “core curriculum” of the college. These courses usually include writing, math, philosophy, science and, sometimes, unusual “subjects” like music or swimming.

Each of these courses — required, elective and core curriculum — is worth a certain number of “credits.” And every student has to get a required number of credits before graduation. A semester is typically four months long, and there are two regular semesters each year: the fall and the spring semester. The summer is off. Students usually do internships, study abroad, work, travel or just rest during the summer.

As you can see, Students have to take an active role in shaping their college education in this system. It can sometimes mean that you will have to plan ahead for a year or more about which classes to take and how to achieve the credits required for graduation. To help students in this process, colleges typically assign at least one “advisor” to each student. The advisor will be important in helping students choose their major, select classes, meet the requirements, plan for their four years, etc.

 

After you’ve been admitted – the visa process

After you have been admitted to a college or university in the U.S., you will receive a document called the I-20 from your college. In it, the college states that you are an admitted student and have enough financial resources – through scholarships or personal finance – for at least one year of college. Then you take your I-20 to an American embassy and appear for a visa interview.

After you have been approved for a visa, the embassy takes your passport and conducts background checks. If everything works out, you should have your U.S. visa within a few weeks to a couple of months. The time varies, so check with the embassy about your visa.

Preparing for the U.S.

Students are very excited when they get their U.S. student visa, also called the F1 visa. Students with this visa cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start of their course of study. Obviously, preparation for the U.S. trip includes saying goodbyes to friends and families and purchasing the plane ticket. But the following items are common – and helpful – in bringing with you to the U.S.:

  • Traditional Afghan clothes — have at least one pair with you
  • Something that reminds you of home – a memento, a gift from your family or friends, pictures, a decoration piece you can put on your desk, etc.
  • The Afghan flag
  • If you have a host family in the U.S., remember to get them a gift from Afghanistan. Something “Afghan” is recommended.
This was a very general overview of education in the U.S. Admittedly, it is not comprehensive. If you have particular questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below, and we will be sure to answer them for you.

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23
September

Accepting applications: college scholarships in the US for Afghan students

The Foundation for Afghanistan is now accepting applications for our college scholarship program under which qualified Afghan students will receive full scholarships in the United States. This scholarship program has been made possible by the generosity of our institutional partners such as Berea College.

All demonstrated needs of admitted students will be met by assistance from our partner institutions or from Foundation for Afghanistan. Full scholarships will be provided for four years or, in some cases, the duration of students’ undergraduate education.

Who can apply

All college-eligible Afghan students, especially females, are encouraged to apply. We are especially looking for students with financial need who also demonstrate a determination to make a meaningful contribution to Afghanistan upon completion of their education. Through this scholarship program, the Foundation hopes to contribute toward improving human capacity in Afghanistan.

Each applicant must submit the following:

How to apply
Submit the required material to applications@foundationforafghanistan.org no later than November 15, 2011.    UPDATE: Deadline has been extended. Please see here.

 

Successful applicants will be notified within two weeks of the submission deadline. The Foundation will then recommend the finalists to our partner institutions and help the finalists in applying for admission.

 

For more information
If you have questions or need more information, please email us at info@foundationforafghanistan.org.

You can also receive regular updates from us via:

 

Related information:

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20
September

Educational and training opportunities in the US for Afghans

Below are a few of the latest educational and training opportunities that have come our way. We are sharing them here so you can help us spread the word. Please take a moment to share this information to your friends, colleagues or acquaintances who might be interested in the opportunities.


Call for LLM Scholarship Applications from Afghan Lawyers and Judges

The Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan (PPP) is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Afghan LLM Scholarship Program.  The PPP is a joint effort of the US State Department and leading private attorneys in the US. Established in 2007 by the US Department of State and leading private attorneys in the US, the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan (PPP) offers scholarships, trainings, and other educational resources to Afghan prosecutors, judges, defense lawyers, advocates and educators seeking to strengthen their skills in the field of law. The PPP seeks to promote rule of law in Afghanistan by supporting Afghan lawyers in their efforts to build strong, fair and open democratic institutions.

The Afghan LLM Scholarship Program combines grants for tuition and fees from partnering US law schools with PPP funding for the scholars’ travel and living expenses in the US.

The PPP helps match scholars to LLM degree programs at top US law schools, including Boston University, Harvard, University of Utah, Chapman, Stanford, George Washington University, Washington and Lee, Ohio Northern University, Georgetown and Whittier.  In addition, a legal mentor is available to most PPP Afghan LLM Scholars, usually a senior Federal judge.

The PPP LLM Scholarship Program is highly competitive and requires a high level of English proficiency as well as a demonstrated commitment to advancing the legal profession and rule of law in Afghanistan.  At least one year of professional legal experience is preferred by many US law schools, but recent graduates may also apply.  PPP Scholars are expected to return home and work to promote the rule of law in Afghanistan.

For more information about applying to the Afghan LLM Scholarship Program, please visit the Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan website.  Please  contact apply@afghanppp.org for any questions.

Applications are due by October 15, 2011.


Call for Applications for Professional Training and Certification in Biomedical Repair

MediSend, a US-based nonprofit organization, offers to sponsor the professional training and certification of an Afghan biomedical repair technician.

Qualified professionals in the health care field such as electrical engineers, biomedical technicians or engineers, lab technicians and radiologists are encouraged to apply.

Requirements:

Applicants must be proficient in English and take part in an entrance exam of about 3-4 hours covering concepts in algebra, physics, electronics and biomedical technologies. A training manual to prepare for for the test and the program is also available for interested applicants.

To apply:

Please download the application, which contains the necessary instructions.

About MediSend and MediSendGEC:

MediSend is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, humanitarian organization that supports under-resourced hospitals in developing countries with a multi-dimensional approach to improving community health. Medisend’s mission includes education, training, technical support and management technologies in Biomedical Equipment Repair, as well as the distribution of life-saving medical supplies and biomedical equipment in long-term partnership and emergency relief programs.

The Global Education Center was established to expand MediSend’s mission of Sending Hope. Saving Lives. It is located in the Elisabeth Dahan Humanitarian Center at Medisend’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

With the collaboration and partnership of professional organizations, corporations and universities, MediSend offers comprehensive Biomedical Equipment Repair and Healthcare Management courses to select individuals from developing countries.

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16
September

Event: celebrating women’s and girls’ education in Afghanistan

Foundation for Afghanistan President Amb. Said Jawad will be a panelist on Sep. 21 at an event about the successes and challenges of the educating women and girls in Afghanistan.

Organized jointly by the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair at Georgetown University, the event will discuss the challenges in the education sector in Afghanistan, with a specific focus on women and girls. Ambassador Jawad will highlight the importance of capacity building in Afghanistan through the education of the Afghan youth, particularly the girls and women.

Melanne Verveer, U.S. Amnassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Affairs, will be the keynote speaker, while Sakena Yacoobi, noted Afghan educationist and executive director of Afghan Institute of Learning, will be the featured speaker.

The Foundation’s Executive Director Ahmad Shuja will also be in attendance at the event, and will be live-tweeting at our Twitter account @FdnforAfghan.

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8
September

Announcing our partnership with Berea College

The Foundation for Afghanistan and Berea College, a four-year liberal arts institution in Kentucky, concluded a memorandum of understanding for scholarships to Afghan students.

Under the partnership, Berea College will award up to two full scholarships each year to deserving Afghan students, who will receive a generous financial aid package consisting of room, board and fees.

Berea College

Berea College

The Foundation will identify and recommend qualified Afghan students who demonstrate a high likelihood of academic success and the determination to make meaningful contributions to Afghanistan upon completion of study in the United States.

“Berea College is pleased to enter into this partnership with the Foundation in an effort to identify qualified Afghan students whose family financial resources will make it impossible for them to afford the pursuit of an undergraduate degree in the United States,” said Dr. Larry Shinn, president of Berea College.

“It is our sincere desire to serve students who are committed to using their education for the benefit of their native people,” he added.

Established in 1855, Berea College is the first interracial an coeducational college in Southern United States. It does not charge tuition and only admits students who have academic promise but limited financial resources. Primarily serving the Appalachian region, Berea also admits students from across the United States and the world.

The first scholarship recipients under this partnership will start their college careers in the fall of 2012.

Through partnerships like this, the Foundation for Afghanistan is committed to helping Afghan students realize their human potential. We believe that developing the skills and capabilities of the Afghan people is the wisest long-term investment toward rebuilding and progress.

The Foundation is working to develop similar agreements and welcomes cooperation from like-minded organizations. If you or your organization is interested in exploring partnerships, please contact Ahmad Shuja at info@foundationforafghanistan.org.

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1
September

Afghanistan’s green revolution?

Within the past month, we have heard a constant stream of good agricultural news from Afghanistan despite the ongoing drought. First, it was a 2,000-hectare increase in land used for fruit orchards, leading to a 5% growth in fruit production.

Then, it was a 20% jump in fresh fruit exports, most of which went to the neighboring countries. Afghanistan’s agricultural exports have traditionally been strongest in the dried fruits and nuts area, which is why the boost in fresh fruits export is particularly significant.

And now, thanks to greenhouse farms, Herat is able to produce 95% of its vegetable needs (link in Dari). This is remarkable progress because, until very recently, most of the vegetables and other produce consumed in this populace province came from the neighboring country of Iran.

Traditional Afghan agriculture is very seasonal: Farmers begin their agricultural activity in mid- to late-spring, continue it through the summer and end in early fall; they remain largely inactive during the long Afghan winter. But since the introduction of greenhouse farms, farmers can grow vegetables year-round, spending their spare winter time on productive economic activity. Consumers also benefit by having affordable local produce available to them independent of their seasonality.

According to Herat agriculture officials, the greenhouse project was a joint venture between the Afghan government and its international (governmental and nongovernmental) partners. Officials say that after a successful test run, Afghan farmers now see its advantages and have been voluntarily adopting the greenhouse approach. Its effectiveness and popularity with local farmers has been the main impetus behind taking Herat from being largely import-dependant to being nearly self-sufficient.

But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be deluded by successes like these — agriculture in Afghanistan is still facing huge problems, most fundamentally from being susceptible to the forces of nature. Natural cycles of drought, occasional but widespread pest infestations, land erosion and flooding are some of the chronic problems Afghan farmers have faced for centuries.

And now, with the development of large urban centers, farming families under pressure are leaving their farms and streaming into cities in search of sustenance through unskilled jobs. These pressures have also contributed to Afghan migration out of the country.

Greenhouse farms can be part of the solution to this issue because of several obvious and important advantages: they don’t require large-scale irrigation infrastructure and are largely immune from common problems such as pest plagues, land erosion, flooding and seasonality. And although they are not conducive to producing staples like wheat and some fruits like apricots and almonds, they are excellent for produce like tomatoes, turnips, beets, potatoes, peas, cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, etc.

Recent successes in this area signify that Afghan agriculture is not only salvageable but also has excellent economic potential. In particular, the success in Herat gives us two important models:

  • an indigenously proven farming model that is feasible and enjoys buy-in from local farmers, and
  • a successful local-global partnership that will be useful well after the international withdrawal from the country.

Afghanistan will need to increase its revenue stream to pay its bills, develop the country, battle food insecurity and pull millions of Afghans out of poverty. Given the Afghan economy’s primarily agrarian nature, one important strategy is to work with our international partners and scale what has worked — like the Herat greenhouse farms.

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