Dr Orzala Nemat, an internationally known Afghan activist and scholar, is an expert in political ethnography, holding a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and MSc in Development Planning from the University College London (UCL). Dr Nemat emerged as a young leader from her time being a war refugee for over a decade in Pakistan and gained national and international recognition for her principled work on humanitarian assistance, women’s rights and human rights matters. She subsequently undertook research and studies on issues around politics, governance and power relations in war-affected societies.
Dr Nemat chose to rise above the challenges of living as a refugee, by putting the focus on developing her career, at the same time assisting and helping the most marginalised members of society through educational programmes, building schools, protection of female victims of violence and peacebuilding. She is currently Director of Afghanistan’s top research think tank, the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) and has contributed significantly to its internal management, as well as building its quality of work up to global research standards.
During her professional career of over twenty years, Dr Nemat has led and worked with various grassroots, national and international organisations. She served on various development organisations’ governance boards and attended numerous international and national conferences representing voices from Afghanistan and Afghan women. She was selected as a Young Global Leader at the World Forum in 2009, Yale Greenberg World Fellows in 2008 and is a recipient of the Isabel Ferror Award for Women’s Education and the Amnesty International Award for Humanitarian Aid to Children and Women.
Dr Nemat has published various research papers and presented research at policy institutions across Europe, US and Australia. Upon completion of her doctoral studies and after teaching international development courses at SOAS, Dr Nemat returned to Kabul where she worked briefly as the President’s Advisor on Sub-National Governance, prior to joining the AREU as its first Afghan female director.
As a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI, Dr Nemat brings valuable insights from the ground on current global challenges such as security, migration and violence.