Parnian

Afghan Delegation, 2003

IMPACT: POLITICAL

How has Seeds of Peace had an effect on you?

Prior to coming to Seeds of Peace my life was one of war. Camp was the first time I saw a peaceful environment, one without strict gender roles, violence and conflict. I was born and raised in war. I lived in constant fear, but for me all of this was normal. I had not experienced another way to live.

Coming to Camp exposed me to peace for the first time; even getting a full night’s sleep was a new experience. Seeds of Peace taught me how to cope with the experience of living through intense years of war and conflict in Afghanistan. There I learned to coexist with, understand and talk to “the other.”

At Camp I saw different religions and views of the world, views I had never known back home. I made non-Muslim friends for the first time. I met Seeds who saw their religions as unique, in the same way I saw mine.

Equipped with these new perspectives, I came out of Camp believing that I can change the world. That all humans deserve to live in peace and equality—the goal and direction of my life has become just to achieve that.

How are you currently impacting your community?

As a Program Officer for the Afghanistan Regional Project at NYU’s Center on International Cooperation, I work to influence international policy towards Afghanistan and address critical political and social issues facing the country today. My work includes tackling issues of educational policy in the context of a political settlement, women’s rights amid reconciliation efforts, regional cooperation, and the future of the UN’s role in Afghanistan.

In addition, I serve as a Special Advisor to the President of the newly established Paula Loyd Foundation, which provides scholarships for Afghan women to attend college in Kabul or the United States. I work to carry out the mission of the foundation to empower Afghan women through education and develop leaders and thinkers committed to serving Afghanistan.

In late 2011, at the invitation of President Hamid Karzai’s Security Council Office, I joined a group of 14 senior Afghan and international officials to draft a policy recommendation for President Karzai that would become an Action Plan addressing issues of radicalization in Afghan society.

Through all of these activities I hope to build a foundation of protection for education and women’s rights in Afghanistan beyond the American withdrawal in 2014. Looking forward, I hope to acquire the skills required to achieve my life-long goal of working towards peace and equality for all. That requires continuing my education, which is extremely important, and expanding my work experience beyond Afghanistan to other countries dealing with war and conflict.

EDUCATION

•  BA, Wellesley College, 2010
•  Wellesley in Washington Program, Department of Political Science

AWARDS/HONORS

• Youth Representative, Presidential Study Group on Radicalization, Afghan National Security Council
• Outstanding Service Award of the Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund for extraordinary generosity and compassion demonstrated as a volunteer in helping to save the lives, voices, ideas, and works of persecuted scholars
• Recipient of full scholarships to Phillips Exeter Academy and Wellesley College

WORK

• Program Officer, Afghanistan Regional Project, NYU Center on International Cooperation
• Special Advisor to the President, Board of Advisors, Paula Loyd Foundation

“Through all of these activities I hope to build a foundation of protection for education and women’s rights in Afghanistan beyond the American withdrawal in 2014. Looking forward, I hope to acquire the skills required to achieve my life-long goal of working towards peace and equality for all.”