Building Peace and Connectivity through Research and Dialogue

Team

The Heart of Asia Society was founded by a group of Afghan professionals and academics. Our team include former diplomats and professionals with experience at the highest levels of government, non-governmental organisations and private sector, as well as academics with degrees from some of the world’s leading universities.

Sima Samar

Sima Samar

Chair of the Board of Directors
Dr Sima Samar is the Special Envoy of the President of Afghanistan and State Minister for Human Rights and International Affairs of Afghanistan and also serves as member of the
Fatima Gailani

Fatima Gailani

Member of the Board of Directors
Fatima Gailani is one of Afghanistan’s 21 negotiators in the peace talks with the Taliban, brining decades of relevant knowledge and experience to the team. She was on the commission
Mohammad Ehsan Zia

Mohammad Ehsan Zia

Member of the Board of Directors
  Education MA, Post War Recovery Studies, University of York, UK, 2000 Years of Experience 35 Citizenship Afghanistan Languages English, Dari, Pashto, Urdu, Turkish Professional Summary Career professional in peacebuilding,
Abdul Wahid Wafa

Abdul Wahid Wafa

Member of the Board of Directors
 Abdul Wahid Wafa is the Director of the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University (ACKU), a non- profit organization that promotes and facilitates research and information sharing through the dissemination of
Ahmad Shakib Shiwa

Ahmad Shakib Shiwa

Member of the Board of Directors
A lawyer by profession, Ahmad Shakib Shiwa is an Afghan national who holds Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) and bachelor’s degree in Law from Kabul University. He is
Jafar Mahdavi

Jafar Mahdavi

Member of Advisory Council
Born in 1975 in Ghor, central Afghanistan, Jafar Mahdavi is a prominent Afghan scholar, politician and civil society activist. Mr Mahdavi’s educational background is in sociology in which field he
Homayra Ludin-Etemadi

Homayra Ludin-Etemadi

Member of Advisory Council
Homayra Ludin Etamadi is currently an advisor to the former President of Afghanistan, Hamed Karzai, and served as his Deputy Chief of Staff for seven years. Prior to joining the
Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya

Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya

Member of Advisory Council
Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya retired from the Indian Foreign Service in May 2016 after serving as India's Ambassador to Syria, Afghanistan (July 2013-May 2016), and Myanmar, Charge d'Affaires at the newly
Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas

Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas

Member of Advisory Council
Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas is the former Foreign Minister of Lithuania, EU Special Representative to Afghanistan (2010-2013), EU ambassador to Russia and Lithuanian ambassador to USA, Mexico and Court of St.
David Sedney

David Sedney

Member of Advisory Council
Mr. David Sedney is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense of the United States and former President of the American University of Afghanistan
Makhfi Azizi

Makhfi Azizi

Member of Advisory Council
Ms. Makhfi Azizi has pursued a career focused on promoting the rights of Afghan women and girls and advocating for a just and durable peace in Afghanistan.  She is currently
Elizabeth Winter

Elizabeth Winter

Member of Advisory Council
A social scientist, with a career combining research, policy, coordination, evaluation and advocacy. Involvement with Afghanistan since backpacking there in 1977, and regular visits since then.   Concentrating on supporting Afghan
Ambassador Tadamichi Yamamoto

Ambassador Tadamichi Yamamoto

Member of Advisory Council
Ambassador Tadamichi Yamamoto is a diplomat, who served as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from March 2016 until March 2020.
Josie Bassinette

Josie Bassinette

Member of Advisory Council
Josie Bassinette worked for the World Bank Group for 30 years. Much of her career was spent in development in Fragile and Conflict-effected States including the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon,
Aref Dostyar

Aref Dostyar

Member of Advisory Council
Mr. Aref Dostyar is the Consul General of Afghanistan to Western United States based in Los Angeles. Dostyar worked with the Afghan government in different capacities including as Director General for International Relations
Annie Pforzheimer

Annie Pforzheimer

Member of Advisory Council
After retiring from the senior ranks of the State Department after a 30-year diplomatic career, Annie Pforzheimer has become engaged in opportunities to advance women's rights, social justice, and principled
Mosharraf Zaidi

Mosharraf Zaidi

Member of Advisory Council
Mr. Mosharraf Zaidi is a public policy professional with over two decades of experience in helping leaders and organizations understand how to navigate complex political and economic environments. He has
Ross Reid

Ross Reid

Member of Advisory Council
Mr. Ross has served with the US National Democratic Institute in Ukraine, Ghana, Kosovo and Afghanistan (country director 2002-3).  He has advised on and conducted democratic development programs in over
Khwaga Kakar

Khwaga Kakar

Member of Advisory Council
Khwaga Kakar is a public policy specialist with over 15 years of experience in advisory, policy research, and management consultancy roles. Her work experience spans widely from governmental to multilateral agencies,
Ambassador Jawed Ludin

Ambassador Jawed Ludin

Co-Founder & President
A former diplomat and entrepreneur, Mr Ludin has over 25 years of professional experience and a diverse career spanning politics, government, private sector and international development. He entered politics in
Ambassador Janan Mosazai

Ambassador Janan Mosazai

Co-Founder & Vice President
Born in 1980 in Kabul, Janan Mosazai is a former Afghan diplomat who left government service in 2018 to join the private sector. He is Co-Founder and Vice President of
Ambassador William R. (Bill) Crosbie

Ambassador William R. (Bill) Crosbie

Executive Director
Bill Crosbie’s has served most of his long-standing career in the Federal Government of Canada with the Ministry responsible for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, now called Global Affairs Canada.
Barnett Rubin

Barnett Rubin

Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Dr. Barnett R. Rubin is Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Heart of Asia Society (HAS). Previously, he directed the Afghanistan Pakistan Regional Program at the Center for International Cooperation (CIC)
Fabrizio Foschini

Fabrizio Foschini

Senior Research Fellow
Dr. Fabrizio Foschini has researched the history, society, and politics of Afghanistan—where he has lived and visited regularly since 2003–for nearly two decades. He studied the history of Asia at
Elham Gharji

Elham Gharji

Research Fellow
Elham Gharji is a Senior Fellow at HAS and a Ph.D. Candidate in International Politics and Conflict Resolution at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. His research focuses on foreign policy
John Coo

John Coo

Advisor
John has over 30 years’ experience in fundraising and stakeholder relations for national and international NGOs - from education to humanitarian relief. He currently works as an international development consultant,
Judith Szabo

Judith Szabo

Advisor
As President and Managing Partner of J.J. Szabo International, Judith Szabo is an award-winning former journalist and broadcaster with over 30 years experience in international strategic, crisis and risk communications.
Ambassador William R. (Bill) Crosbie

Ambassador William R. (Bill) Crosbie

Executive Director
Bill Crosbie’s has served most of his long-standing career in the Federal Government of Canada with the Ministry responsible for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, now called Global Affairs Canada.
Charlotte Maxwell-Jones

Charlotte Maxwell-Jones

Research Director
Dr. Maxwell-Jones has worked in Afghanistan since 2010 and has over 15 years of experience conducting field research in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. She earned her
Maiwand Abbas

Maiwand Abbas

Finance and Administration Director
Born in November 1988, Maiwand Abbas is an Afghan national with a master’s degree in Business Administration from Afghanistan’s well-known accredited University of Kabul in 2017. On the career side,
Said Sabir Ibrahimi

Said Sabir Ibrahimi

Program Director
Sabir Ibrahimi is the Program Director at the Heart of Asia Society. Sabir is also a non-resident fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, where he worked as
Ahmad Bilal Popalzai

Ahmad Bilal Popalzai

Coordinator, Executive Committee
Ahmad Bilal Popalzai is the Coordinator to the Executive Committee at the Heart of Asia Society. He is also Office Manager at Mithra Associates DMCC, a Dubai based company. Popalzai
Mir Ahmad Daimirian

Mir Ahmad Daimirian

Senior Researcher
Mir Ahmad Daimirian has a master’s degree in Central Asian Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He has worked for a number of international organizations including
Jamshid Yama Amiri

Jamshid Yama Amiri

Communication Officer
Jamshid Yama Amiri is Media Advisor to the Office of the Chairperson of the High Council for National Reconciliation. He is formerly the Senior Media Expert to the Office of