Afghan Biographies

Ahmadzai, Rula Ghani Mrs.

Name Ahmadzai, Rula Ghani Mrs.
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth 1948
Function/Grade Wife of Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
History and Biodata

Advisor to the country’s first lady Rula Ghani Ahmadzai:
Mrs. Palwasha Amin Ahmadzai (20141214) went to Lycee Zarghoona, Kabul; studied at Chabot College; lives in San Jose, California, USA; married to Ahmad Wafi Amin; speaks English an Pashtu.


Mrs. Zohra Youssef (20210526)


3. Biodata Rula Ghani Ahmadzai:

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai travelled to Lebanon to attend the American University in Beirut (he is one of the Afghan so called "Beiruti Boys"; also Khalilzad, Ahadi and Popal attended the American University in Beirut). In Beirut he met his future wife, Rula, a Libanese Maronite Christian, and earned his first degree in 1973. Rula Ghani, a Lebanese Maronite Christian in a predominantly Muslim nation, wants to provide support for every "woman who wants to better herself and improve her standard of living within the [societal] context she is living now." Now aged 66, Ghani is with degrees from leading universities in France, Lebanon and the United States. She returned to Kabul in 2002 when her husband returned home as Afghanistan’s finance minister.

Rula Ghani Ahmadzai Rujla Ghani Roula Saade Ghani was born 1948 (also mentioned 1952) in Lebanon. Born and raised in Lebanon, First Lady Rula Ghani holds a diploma from I’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, France (1969), an MA in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut (1974), and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University in New York (1983). She married her husband 1975 and first lived as part of an Afghan family in the Kabul home of her in-laws for three years in the mid-1970s.  Rula says she wants to use her role as bano aval, or first lady, to strengthen the position of Afghan women within the "close networks" of Afghan families.

Throughout her husband's presidential campaign, high-profile critics, including Mohammad Mohaqeq — deputy to rival candidate Abdullah Abdullah — sought to paint Rula as a foreigner out of touch with a Muslim society. Atta Mohammad Noor, governor of the northern province of Balkh, said Ashraf Ghani didn't "know about religion" and said his "children and wife are not Afghans." She counters that she has never felt out of place in Afghanistan. From the outset, she has said that her upbringing in a Lebanese family fluent in Arabic, French and English helped her to adjust quickly to Afghan ways. "I was immediately accepted by the family. When people realized I spoke Arabic they thought I spoke the language of the Koran," the first lady said.

This helped her to quickly learn Dari, one of the nation's two most prominent languages.

In the late '70s, the couple went to New York for Ashraf's doctoral studies at Columbia University. Like many Afghans, the Ghanis found their lives upended by the 1978 coup that led to the Soviet occupation. While in America, Rula Ghani, a journalist by training, focused mainly on raising her children, Tarek and Mariam. 2002 back in Kabul, she volunteered for six years at Aschiana, a non-governmental organisation providing services to families of children who work in the streets, a lot of whom were IDPs.

An accomplished academic in her own right - and fluent in English, French, Arabic and Persian - Mrs Ghani is expected by Kabul's nostalgic elites to restore the nearly forgotten role of Afghan "first lady".

The new first lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani has said she supports the decision by the government of France to ban women from wearing the full veil/burqa in public.(20141101) The ARG Presidential Palace has said that the report published based on an interview with the first lady Rula Ghani suggesting her support on niqab ban by France government has been misinterpreted. The first lady quoted in the statement by the Palace has said that she supports from the rights of the Afghan women considering the constitution of the country.(20141102)

Norway will host the Oslo Symposium on Advancing Women’s Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan.  The symposium is being organised in close cooperation with the Afghan and US authorities and civil society organisations. Rula Ghani, Afghanistan’s new first lady, will be among those attending the symposium. Professor Husn Banu Ghazanfar, Afghanistan’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, and a number of Afghan members of parliament and activists will also be in Norway to attend the symposium. (20141114)


Rula Ghani is married and has two children, a boy Tariq and a girl Mariam.


Rula is fluent in Arabic, Dari, French and English.


Last Modified 2021-05-26
Established 2014-10-13