Mariam Safi is the founding Director of the Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies (DROPS), a leading think-tank in Afghanistan committed to strengthening democratic ideas and values through its policy-oriented research, training and advocacy programs that aim to provide policymakers with sound alternative solutions to national issues and to create a platform to increase women’s voices in policy discourse. She was honored by the Diplomatic Courier media network as one of their Top Global Women in 2014 for her contribution to the research community in Afghanistan. She is a member of the Afghanistan Policy Group, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka, an alumni at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, and a local peace-building expert for Peace Direct. Ms. Safi has an MA in International Peace Studies from the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in San José (Costa Rica).
Fields of interest: peace-building, human security, and countering violent extremism and offering a grassroots and gender perspective on issues effecting Afghanistan and the region of South Asia
Naheed Farid is the you youngest member of the Afghan Parliament, where she serves as a member of the International Relations committee. Elected to Parliament in 2010 at the age of 27, Farid has worked tirelessly to engage Afghan youth and women in the nation’s political process. Farid’s background in non-profit work influenced her decision to enter politics and advocate for Afghanistan’s women and children. She served as Executive Director of the Mother and Child Organization of Afghanistan, and has worked for the World Food Program, Medica Mondiale and Dacaar. Farid has advocated for the reduction of gender-based violence and human rights violations against women, and expanded access to education and employment for women. Farid is one of the most-educated members of the Afghan Parliament, and she uses her political position to elevate the voice of women in Afghanistan within her own country and on the international stage. She holds an MA from George Washington University in Political Management.
Saba Kakar is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Science. She has extensive experience working with several Junior Youth Programs in Islamabad, Pakistan. She worked with youth, from age 11 – 15, in the capacity of an Animator, Trainer and Coordinator. As an animator, Saba used story telling to teach youth about moral education. She also organized fundraisers that set out community service activities for the underprivileged. Furthermore, she conducted trainings for young girls on how to become future animators and carry out their own junior youth classes. As a coordinator, she was vital to managing all junior youth programs in Islamabad. Throughout her work experiences, Saba garnered a wealth of knowledge particularly on how to engage youth in peace programs through participatory implementation mechanisms.
Bismellah is a political analyst and youth activist. He has been involved in civil society activism since 2012 when he co-found the Youth Development Association (YDA), aimed at empowering youth through capacity-building initiatives. Bismellah has also worked for various other youth engagement programs such as co-organizing the Model United Nations conference in 2016. He also writes extensively on Afghan political and security affairs and is a regular contributor to Global Voices and the Diplomat. In addition to his current leadership role as Deputy Director of DROPS, he also severs as a board member of YDA. Bismellah holds a BA in political science from Kabul University.
Amran Fatih is currently pursuing a degree in Economics and International Relations (MSc). His previous employment experiences include working with the Ministry of Energy and Water of Afghanistan (MEW) as a Finance and Budget Specialist as part of the Ministry’s Support Unit Team from 2010 – 2013. Following this position, Amran then went on to work with an International Automobile Company based in UAE in the capacity of a Finance Manager. Fatih is currently working at DROPS as a Research Intern focusing on Economic Development, with a specialization in Economic Cooperation between Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics (CAPs).
Farkhonda Tahery is a senior student of Sociology and Philosophy at Kabul University. She is passionate about research in social sciences with a keen interest in education and gender studies. She has also been involved in various leadership and exchange programs. She is a Women to Women 2016—Women International Leadership Conference alumnae. She has also been a participant in the Academic Human Rights Club 2017 which was organized in Kabul by the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization. Earlier, she has been an exchange student of Youth Solidarity and English Language Program (YSEL 2013).
In addition to her professional background, she has been involved in social activism since 2013. She is currently running Gami Baray Hamzisti program which focuses on teaching peaceful engagement in the society and conflict resolution. She has also been a participant in Camp Future Stars in Turkey in 2014 and 2016.