Shaharzad Akbar is dedicated to improving lives in Afghanistan, especially for women. Akbar is currently the Country Director for Open Society Afghanistan and is a co-founder of Afghanistan 1400, a group dedicated to bringing young Afghans into the political process. She was previously co-founder and Partner in QARA Consulting, Inc., a political risk consultancy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Shaharzad has also worked with BBC Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch and The Asia Foundation.
Akbar’s family fled the country when the Taliban rose to power, returning not long after the 2001 invasion. After graduating from Smith College in Massachusetts, she became the first Afghan woman to get a master’s degree at Oxford, in 2011. An active tweeter and writer, she regularly engages on issues related to her country and her generation.