Our Vision

A New Era

AUAF continues to educate many hundreds of students in Afghanistan and among the diaspora, online and in person at Education City in Doha, Qatar. As their need multiplies, our commitment intensifies – to delivering the highest academic quality, to equal opportunity for women, and to a better, more just society.

Online education offers hope and opportunity to women barred from universities inside Afghanistan’s borders. AUAF’s new operations in Qatar provide safety and freedom to those whose studies have taken them abroad but whose hearts remain in their communities at home. All come together in hybrid classrooms fostering critical thinking, civic engagement, and career readiness.

Nowhere else can young Afghan women and men receive an international, accredited education tailored to their diverse and distinctive heritage and attuned to their unique perspectives. Until the day we return to our campuses in Kabul, AUAF lives in the minds of its students and the accomplishments of its alumni – who prove what we have always believed, that education will prevail.

AUAF Global logo
  • Online Programs
  • Serving Students in Afghanistan & Abroad
AUAF Qatar logo
  • Undergraduate and
    Graduate Degree Programs
  • A New Life for AUAF at Education City
International Institute for Afghanistan Teaching & Learning logo
  • Research and
    Curriculum Development
  • Preserving Afghan History and Culture

Our Mission

The American University of Afghanistan empowers rising leaders with knowledge, skills, and agency to define their own individual and collective futures.

As a beacon of educational quality and academic freedom, AUAF embraces equal opportunity for women and minorities, preserves and amplifies Afghan history and culture, and creates connections between Afghanistan and global society through teaching, learning, and research.

Our Values

Freedom & Responsibility
Promotion of Pluralistic Ideas
Free Expression & Inquiry
Personal & Professional Integrity
Success Stories: Habib’s Fight for an Education While Remaining in Afghanistan

Success Stories

Habib’s Fight for an Education While Remaining in Afghanistan

Habib is a senior AUAF student pursuing a B.A. in Data Science while currently enrolled in MIT’s ReACT program – a year-long online learning program offered by MIT that opens up education-to-employment pathways for talented refugees, displaced populations, and underserved communities worldwide.  The program combines a rigorous academic curriculum, immersive skills workshops, professional internships, and experiential learning opportunities to provide students with the hands-on skills and experiences needed to accelerate their journey.

Habib, who taught himself to code in python before starting his freshman year at AUAF, is one of the only one-hundred individuals from around the world to be accepted into the ReAcCT program, which has an acceptance rate of only eleven percent. He credits much of his success on the program’s entrance exam to AUAF, stating, “much of my course-work at AUAF, specifically on statistics and probabilities, were very helpful towards the exam.

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Success Stories: Mursalina Continues Her Education at AUCA

Success Stories

Mursalina Continues Her Education at AUCA

Not a global pandemic or a national ban on women’s education can stop Mursalina from empowering Afghan girls. Mursalina is a sophomore AUAF student currently taking courses at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan while remaining as dedicated as ever to educating girls and young women back home in Afghanistan.

At just eighteen years old, even before her start at AUAF, Mursalina founded her own non-profit organization in Afghanistan titled Girls Towards Leadership. When she arrived at AUAF, Mursalina was overwhelmed by the number of students, girls and boys, eager to get involved. Together, they continue teaching girls leadership skills, English and are empowering them to pursue their academic interests while remaining in Afghanistan. Mursalina also started a Girls Up club at AUAF and will also start one at AUCA.

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Success Stories: Fulbright Student and AUAF Alum Works Towards her Women and Gender Studies Master’s Degree at University of Kansas

Success Stories

Fulbright Student and AUAF Alum Works Towards her Women and Gender Studies Master’s Degree at University of Kansas

Continuing her education was something Amina was not willing to sacrifice. With the help of Fulbright, Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute, and AUAF, Amina left behind her home country of Afghanistan, her family, and everything she knew.  Although unimaginably traumatic, she said leaving Afghanistan was necessary because “the best way to become a leader is through education.” This strong belief has driven her to become the extraordinary woman she is today.

Amina, a Fulbright scholar with a book-worth of accomplishments, has a joint AUAF and Stanford Law degree, a master’s degree in Law from a university in Eastern Europe and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at a university in the US. Although her situation has changed entirely, she refuses to let circumstances get in the way of her goal of becoming a college professor, scholar, and writer– raising awareness to issues she is passionate about while creating an army of empowered leaders.

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Our Impact

AUAF President Ian Bickford

President's Message

"We Would Choose Knowledge Over Fear; Strength Over Surrender; and Ingenuity Over Doubt."

Dear Friends,

I joined the AUAF community in the early spring of 2021 with the knowledge that change would inevitably come to Afghanistan and to a university that has faced many challenges in its short history – indeed, more than its share. What I found was a cohort of students, a leadership team, a faculty, and a professional staff whose resilience and ability to adapt surpassed any I’ve seen before. Nobody asks for adversity; but, when tested by it, we sometimes discover the best parts of ourselves. I was meeting a community at its best.

We anticipated the changes to come with the confidence that AUAF would adapt again to realities that might be hard but could be overcome. In August of that year, as these realities crystalized, we closed our two campuses in Kabul with heavy hearts but clarity of mission: we would choose knowledge over fear; strength over surrender; and ingenuity over doubt. When we decided in those early weeks to begin the fall semester online and on-time, it was our answer to skepticism and illiberalism, and we found our students no less ready to learn, no less ready to question, no less ready to use their voices than the day before Afghanistan’s dramatic change in political fortunes. Every day since, signing into classes in the shared pursuit of knowledge, they reaffirm this answer. Learning has never represented a greater act of courage.

AUAF is now a global university, with many of our students continuing their studies from sites outside Afghanistan, and faculty teaching online from around the world. Our new operations in Doha give us a place to stand; digital technology gives us the means to reach more students, in more places, and in more ways.

This global identity reflects the way Afghanistan has touched the world, bringing nations together in our aspirations to help an opening society over twenty years, yet also illuminating the divisions that hinder progress. We know more about the limits of military intervention to create meaningful change, even as we realize how little we knew about the currents that were drawing Afghanistan back to an authoritarian past. The new Afghan diaspora, deserving all the support we can muster, has much to teach us – about the richness and diversity of their cultural heritage, about the meaning and heartbreak of exile, and about what we can and must continue to do for the Afghan people.

We can and must continue to educate Afghanistan’s ambitious young women and men for leadership in their own society and in the world. We can and must continue to equip them with knowledge, skills, and agency to define their own individual and collective futures. We can and must ensure that their dreams for a more just, more equitable, more prosperous society do not end in obscurity.


Ian Bickford

Board of Trustees

  • Mr. Arsalan Lutfi Chair
  • Mr. Emal Dusst First Vice Chair
  • Dr. Kerry Healey Second Vice Chair
  • Mr. William Hammink Treasurer
  • Prof. Erik Jensen Secretary
  • Dr. Ian Bickford President
  • Dr. John Alexander
  • Mr. Farhad Azima
  • Mr. Christopher
    Nixon Cox
  • Mr. Christian Destremau
  • Dr. David Edwards
  • Dr. Jonathan Fanton
  • Mr. Robert Gangi
  • Dr. Ayesha Sherzai
  • Amb. Said T. Jawad
  • Mr. Harvey S. Schochet
  • Ms. Leslie M. Schweitzer
  • Mr. David S. Sedney
  • Ms. Hanaa Soltan
  • Mr. Chris Taylor
  • Mr. Sear Yagana
  • Ms. Debra Zumwalt
  • Ms. Christine Drinan
  • Ms. Malia K. Du Mont
  • Ms. Alexian Wines


AUAF President Ian Bickford
Dr. Ian Bickford President
Victoria Fontan
Dr. Victoria Fontan Provost and Vice President
Academic Affairs

Make a Difference

With your support, we can help meet the unique needs of AUAF students, faculty, and staff.

Every day, AUAF’s students in Afghanistan set aside fear and uncertainty to sign into classes, joining our new global community in the pursuit of knowledge and opportunity. Learning has never represented a greater act of courage.

Your gift will directly and immediately support the next generation of leaders in Afghanistan. Help us provide 100% financial aid to every student who needs it. Help us restore opportunity for women and girls whose education has been stolen from them. Help us maintain the highest standard of quality for online teaching and learning. Help us connect our students to the world outside Afghanistan – technologically, socially and academically.

AUAF In the News
AUAF Event Photo Hillary Clinton


Friends of AUAF hosts an annual fundraising event to corral support for the university and raise donations to ensure that students may continue their education, regardless of their ability to pay.

While the context for our annual event on October 6th, 2021, changed after August 15th, the purpose did not. Friends of AUAF raised an unprecedented amount in donations and the night proved to be successful in re-inaugurating our mission to educate young Afghan women and men for a future of their own making.