Afghan Biographies

Ex American University of Afghanistan AUAF

Name Ex American University of Afghanistan AUAF
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Administrative Staff AUAF, Donors and Background
History and Biodata

The American University of Afghanistan, a prestigious institution of higher education in the country, has just reopened seven months after a deadly terrorist attack in August 2016 that killed 13 people and injured more than 35 others.(20170328)

The American University of Afghanistan employs individuals with a wide range of backgrounds to administer its programs. Administrative staff originate from all corners of Afghanistan, as well as from abroad.


Staff as of 06 Jan 2020:
Chancellor of the American University of Afghanistan:
David Sydney (20100106)

David Sedney
Scott Brant
Vice President of Administration and Operations
Dr. Diana Sedney
 Acting Director of Advancement
Prof. Victoria C. Fontan
Associate Provost and Dean of Faculty
Dr. Arni Arnthorsson
Associate Provost and Director of Enrollment Management
Paul Penton
 Dean of Students

Dr. Arni Arnthorsson, Chair
Department of Business
Dr. Maria del Mar de Fez Laso, Chair
Division of Science, Technology and Mathematics
Dr. Lisa Saye, Chair
Division of Social Sciences and Humanities
Naseerudin Nezami, JD, Chair
Department of Law
Dr. Jeffery Mehring, Director
The AUAF Academy Program

Kevin Wann
Security Director
Jose Castillo
Chief Facilities Officer
Paul Penton
 Acting Registrar
Gilbert Lopez
Library Director
Vengai Mugabe
Chief Financial Officer
Ian Curtis Pye
Institutional Research Director
Reza Sarwar
Admissions Director
Mujtaba Babakerkhail
Acting Director of Information Technology
Phil Jones
Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer
Human Resources Director
Communications Director

Abdul Hakim Waziri, Executive Director
Professional Development Institute
Martha Young, Director of Educational Programming
Professional Development Institute

Administrative Officers before 06 Jan 2020:


Dr. C. Michael Smith

Dr. Sharif Fayez
Founding President and Interim Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Gordon Anderson
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Dr. Shirley Keeton
Director of Institutional Research

Dr. Rod Monger
Special Assistant to the President for Management Education and Development

David H. Roberson
Executive Assistant to the President and Director of University Relations and Communications

Daniel J. Seckman
Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Enrollment Management


Dr. Chris Blades
Chair of the Department of Information Technology and Computer Science

Bonnie Armantrout
Director of the Foundations Studies Program

Dr. Pamela Hunter

Dr. Bahar Jalali
Chair of the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities

Dr. Dale Larson
Chair of the Department of Business and Economics

Dr. Jesus Pascal
Interim Chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics

Dr. Joyce Killen Shah
Assistant to the Vice President and Chief Academic Officer

Muhammad Shariq
Dean of Faculty

H. David Shaw
Director of the Office of Student Affairs


Jose Castillo
Director of Physical Plant Operations

Assadullah Haidary
Housing Manager

Zabihullah Meyakhil
Transportation Manager

Wahedullah Noori
Director of Human Resources

Madad Seraj

Daud Shah
Director of Planning and Budgets

Akmal Wahab
Director of IT

Mustafa Wahaj
Director of Procurement

Alhaj Fateh Mohd Wasseq
Travel Officer

AUAF Leading Donors (as of 20160811)

Lead Donors

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
US Embassy
World Bank
INL/State Department

Major Donors (as of 20160811):

Ann Marlowe and Alan Gibbs in honor of Bernice Nachman Marlowe
AMZ Foundation
Alakozai Brothers
Azizi Hotak Group
Bayat Foundation
Da Afghanistan Bank
George Shinners in honor of Mark Humphries
Gulzar Family and Group
Khaled Foundation
Maqsudi Foundation
Mr. Naim Momand
Pashtany Bank
The Sunshine Lady Foundation
Zurghuna Walizadeh


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.

University Milestones:


2014: In 2014, AUAF’s Professional Development Institute opened a new branch in Mazar-e-Sharif. The university also launched the MA in Education program with funding from the World Bank and Afghan Ministry of Education, which currently has an enrollment of 320 students from around the country. The International Campus expanded rapidly this year, with extensive landscaping and infrastructure improvements and occupancy of the new staff/faculty apartment block on the new campus. The Business Innovation Hub launched in February with headquarter offices on the International Campus, and subsequently opened a branch office in Herat. To top-off this productive year for the university, a total number of 180 undergraduate and graduate students, AUAF’s fourth and largest class, graduated in December in a ceremony held on the International Campus.

2013: In January, the Department of Law is created, and the first students begin classes. Spring enrollment rises to 958 students, and 50% of the 2013 freshman class is female. 123 students – including the first cohort of MBA students – graduate at a ceremony in May held in front of AUAF’s new International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development (ICAWED), a $5 million, state-of-the-art facility designed to support female Afghan business owners. Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker returns as private citizen to deliver the commencement address. The ICAWED Center hosts its first major international conference just weeks after opening. The university signs another five year cooperative agreement with USAID valued at more than $40 million. Fall enrollment tops 1,000 students, a major university milestone, with females comprising 30% of the overall student body. 

2012: In January, the university admits more than 150 new students to its FSP and UG programs, bringing the total number of students in those programs to 879. PDI enrolls more than 800 students, a record. In February, the university breaks ground on its $5 million International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development. Also in February the Under Secretary for Commerce Francisco Sanchez visits campus to unveil AUAF’s newest program, the Commercial Law Initiative, which will offer courses on commercial law.

2011: The university opens the spring semester in January with its first convocation. Enrollment rises to 789 students, including 21 percent women. In May, the university holds its first graduation ceremony and holds groundbreaking ceremonies for faculty and staff housing on the new campus. In August, a new faculty office building opens on the original campus.

2010: Enrollment increases to 550 students. New degree programs—the Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration—are approved by the Board of Trustees. The design of the new campus is completed with support from USAID. In May, the first student completes requirements for an undergraduate degree. In June, a successful fundraising event is held in Washington for the Laura Bush Women’s Resource Center. In August, the university opens a newly constructed faculty office building.

2009: In August, the Board of Trustees appoints Dr. C. Michael Smith as the university’s president. Through a $5 million grant from USAID, the university installs a state-of-the-art e-learning facility so that students can benefit from collaboration with other universities within the region and as far away as the U.S. Support from the Bayat Foundation helps the university renovate the gymnasium. The Friends of the American University of Afghanistan, with offices in Washington, is awarded 501(c) (3) non-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service.

2008: In June, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush announces $42 million in funding from USAID over five years. By the end of the year, enrollment in the undergraduate and Foundation Studies programs reaches almost 350 students.

2007: The university implements its first vision and academic plans, and begins offering summer courses.

2006: In March, AUAF admits its first group of 53 students to its Foundation Studies Program, designed to strengthen student’s English language and study skills. In September, the first credit-bearing undergraduate courses are offered, along with the first adult professional level programs.

2005: In March, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush visits the site of the new university and announces a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch the institution.

2005: On a five-acre site that is part of the land lease, two buildings heavily damaged in combat between Afghan and Soviet forces in the 1980s and the resulting factional war are repaired for office and classroom use.

2004: The university’s Board of Trustees conducts its first meeting in Dubai, U.A.E.

2004: The Afghanistan Ministry of Higher Education grants a charter to the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) under Article 46, Chapter 2 of the Afghan Constitution and Article 445 of the Civil Code. The Coordinating Council of International Universities, based in the U.S., initiates a feasibility study to recommend an institutional framework for the new university.

2003: In an address to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), U.S. First Lady Laura Bush announces support for educational initiatives in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad gives strong support for establishing the American University of Afghanistan.

2003: The Afghanistan High Commission for Private Investment offers 99-year leases on two large tracts of land, in southwest Kabul near the gutted Darulaman Palace, to develop a private university. The American University of Afghanistan Foundation is chartered in Delaware as a nonprofit philanthropic organization to receive these leases.

2002: Dr. Sharif Fayez, the Afghan Minister of Higher Education, proposes the establishment of the nation’s first independent university, and in a speech to the nation, President Hamid Karzai stresses the importance of education to the country.


Last Modified 2022-11-20
Established 2009-11-08