Afghan Biographies

American University of Afghanistan AUAF

Name American University of Afghanistan AUAF
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Board of Trustees Members AUAF
History and Biodata

American University of Afghanistan AUAF President / Board of Trustees Members:
Mr. Mirwaiss Abdul Azizi, President,
Azizi Hotak Group Mr. Ehsan Bayat, President and CEO, Telephone Systems International, and President, Afghan Wireless Communication Company
Dr. Mark A. English (20160811)
David Sedney has served as AUAF’s Acting President since September 2016.
Dr. Kenneth M. Holland (20170412) Dr. Holland will begin his service as AUAF president on June 1, 2017.

First Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Mr. Fredric Berger, P.E., Chairman, The Louis Berger Group, Inc.
Second Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Ms. Doris E. Buffett, President, Sunshine Lady Foundation
Mr. Noorullah Delawari, Former Governor, Da Afghanistan (Central) Bank
Dr. Akram Fazel, Senior Vice President, FKH Group Chair,
Board of Trustees of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) Chair:
Huda Farouki (20170413)
Vice Chair:
David Sedney (20170413)
Board of Trustees
Mrs. Caroline H. Firestone, Member, U.S.-Afghan Women's Council
Mr. Hassan Ghulam Gran, Secretary General, Wolesi Jirga National Assembly of Afghanistan
Mrs. Shamim Jawad, President, Ayenda Foundation, U.S.-Afghan Women's Council
Dr. Jacob van Lutsenburg Maas, President, American University of Afghanistan Foundation
Mr. Farid Maqsudi, President, ARC Companies, LLC
Dr. M. Ishaq Naderi, Senior Economic Advisor to President Hamid Karzai and Jay Gould Professor of Economics, New York University
Mr. David B. Rivkin, Jr., Partner, Baker and Hostetler, LLP
Dr. Hiromi Lorraine Sakata, Professor Emerita, University of California, Los Angeles

Secretary, Board of Trustees
Ms. Leslie M. Schweitzer, Senior Trade Advisor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Nazif Shahrani, Chairman, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University
Ms. Debra L. Zumwalt, General Counsel and Vice President, Stanford University Treasurer, Board of Trustees

3. Biodata Dr. Holland:
Dr. Holland holds a Ph.D. degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in Government and International Relations from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in Political Science from Furman University.  He comes from a rich and diverse academic background, having served in a variety of positions at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the University of Vermont, the University of Memphis, Luther College, and Kansas State University. Currently Dr. Holland is Professor of Political Science and Executive Director of the Center for International Development at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, USA.(20170413)

Holland is the winner of a Fulbright Specialist Award in Burma, Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Research in the Area of Social Sciences and the Fulbright Scholar Award in Japan. He also has extensive experience in managing grants funded by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, focused on developing countries in order to strengthen higher education and improve the rule of law.  Holland has assisted several universities in Afghanistan, including Kabul University, Balkh University, Kandahar University and Shaikh Zayed (Khost) University.


Report says the current funding for AUAF will last through May 2020 and the university’s annual budget is about $28 million. 


Quoting three sources, CNN on 27 Dec 2019 reported that the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) is drawing up plans to shut down next year. 

The university was established in 2006 and is the only one in Afghanistan that provides a Western-style education. According to CNN, the university relies on the US Agency for International Development for more than 60% of its budget and could not operate without the agency’s financial backing. 

The school has been unable to secure assurance from the agency that it will continue funding the school, the report said.  The current funding will last through May 2019, according to the report. The university’s annual budget is about $28 million, the school’s president, David Sedney, said as quoted by CNN.  “We have a fiduciary responsibility to the faculty, our students and our donors,” said a source familiar with the planning for the possible closure. “It is really important that we address what could be the worst-case scenario.”  “At a meeting with members of the AUAF Board of Trustees on December 9,  2019, USAID's leadership once again strongly encouraged the university to diversify its funding sources, as representatives from the Agency had done in past correspondence and previous meetings, both in Washington and in Kabul,” a USAID spokesperson told CNN.  “AUAF's Board, not USAID, has the fiduciary responsibility to make decisions regarding the future of the university, which is an independent entity.”  The report says that as the funding stands now, the year's courses will finish, but the university will have to activate its plan to shut down after graduation.  In March, international staff will start looking for new jobs. If we are not able to offer contracts by April 2020 they will take other jobs,” quoted by CNN a source familiar with the university's planning for a possible shutdown, said.  The university came under a complex attack by the Taliban in 2016, which left 16 people dead and 50 more wounded. (20191227) Kevin King, an American, and Timothy Weeks, an Australian, who were both recently released (2019) in a prisoner swap preceding resumed peace talks, were professors at AUAF when they were kidnapped in 2016.


Initially, the university was entirely funded by the US government. The institution has developed additional funding streams in recent years, but it has also faced scrutiny its handling of finances. The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction put out a report earlier this year to Congress that found the university had “lost more than $63 million since 2012.” University officials see an uphill battle before them.


Last Modified 2019-12-27
Established 2009-11-08