|History and Biodata
Shaharzad Akbar was born 1987 in Jowzjan Province in Northern Afghanistan and has a mixed ethnic background. She has become the first Afghan woman to study at Oxford University after defying the Taliban to get an education (20091120). During her childhood Ms Akbar risked her life to learn to read and write, fearful that she would be caught and punished by the Taliban who did not believe women should be educated. She was one of the first students to receive the new Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarship set up to help people from emerging economies. Ms Akbar, from northern Afghanistan, is doing a Development Studies masters at Oxford's Department of International Development.. She is in the second year (20110308) of an MPhil in development studies on the Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership programme.