Political Science and Public Administration (POLPAD) 

The Political Science and Public Administration major offers courses that introduce students to both the intellectual content and research methods of political inquiry. The Political Science and Public Administration degree is composed of a diverse curriculum in the disciplinary sub-fields of International Relations, Comparative Politics and Afghanistan Government and Politics as well as an overview of Public Administration which is designed to prepare students to understand and assess politics. Elective courses in allied disciplines including Anthropology, Sociology, History, English, Economics and Legal Studies will enable students to analyze political concepts and issues from the prism of related fields.


Mission Statement of PolPad major

The Political Science and Public Administration major is dedicated to academic excellence in the liberal arts tradition. Consistent with the overall mission of the American University of Afghanistan, the major strives to impart to students intellectual curiosity and the tools to assess and analyze complex problems.


Degree Statement

The Political Science and Public Administration major provides students with the following degree options:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a major in Political Science and Public Administration

Bachelor of Arts Program Description:

The Division of Social Sciences and Humanities offers multidisciplinary subjects in Political Science and Public Administration to build pertinent knowledge and skill set for a career in. The political science and public administration major focuses on outcome-based curriculum development and student-oriented knowledge and skills in Comparative Public Administration, Public Sector Reform in Developing Countries, Public Policy Analysis, Political Analysis and Political Theory. The major also covers subfields of International Relations, Social Research Methods, Comparative Politics and Afghanistan Government and Politics. Elective courses in allied disciplines including Anthropology, Sociology, History, English, Economics and Legal Studies will enable students to analyze political concepts and issues from the prism of related fields. Students need to complete their general education requirements before moving on to 300 and 400 level POL and PAD courses.

Department Faculty
  • Victoria Fontan, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies

     Comes to AUAF from the Bioforce Institute, in Lyon, France, where she was coordinating the establishment of the Humanitarian Passport (HPass) for the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, a subsidiary of Save the Children UK. Past teaching appointments at American University Duhok (Kurdistan, Iraq); Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia); United Nations University for Peace (Costa Rica);  Salahaddin University (Iraq);  Columbia University (USA);  Colgate University (USA);  Sabanci University (Turkey); University of Deusto (Spain/Basque Country); University of Limerick (Republic of Ireland); European Peace University (Austria);  American University of Beirut (Lebanon). Author of three books and numerous publications. Has contributed many invited seminars&  lectures, conference presentations and media appearances. Recipient of numerous professional distinctions, awards and fellowships.

  • Volodymyr Pihenko, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration

    Dr. Pihenko holds Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Policy from the School of Public Affairs and Department of Political Science of Indiana University (USA), awarded in 2001. He also holds an MPA degree from Bowling Green State University (USA), awarded in 1995, Graduate Diploma with Distinction from the Central European University (Czech Republic), awarded in 1993; and B.A. with Honors in History from Chernivtsi State University (Ukraine), awarded in 1993.

    His career has been both in academia and international development. For a number of years (1995-2003), Dr. Pihenko worked in various positions for the Parliamentary Development Project for Ukraine sponsored by the USAID, including the positions of the Field Director and the US Project Manager. His doctoral dissertation focused on the development of the system of separation of powers and legislative attitudes in the Ukrainian Parliament which resulted in a number of research publications in the American, British, and Ukrainian research and policy journals, and a book chapter.

    After the completion of this project, Volodymyr Pihenko assumed the position of Senior Program Manager for Human Security with the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine where he served for several years. He also taught at the Ukrainian Inter-Regional Academy of Public Management and Human Resources.

    In 2009, Dr. Pihenko was awarded Erasmus Mundus Research Fellowship (European Union) and spent a semester at York University (UK) working on his research project focusing on the legislative strengthening of the Ukrainian Parliament.

    In 2013-2014, Dr. Pihenko served as a Visiting Professor of Political Science at the American University of Iraq (AUIS) where he taught courses in Comparative Politics, American Government, Government and Politics, and Contemporary Political Issues (World Politics). He also served as an adviser to the UN module.

    In 2016, Volodymyr Pihenko joined AUAF as an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration, where he teaches classes in Public Policy, Public Administration, and Political Science. 

  • Dr. Tat Puthsodary, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration

    Department of Political Science and Public Administration

    Dr. Puthsodary Tat is an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at the American University of Afghanistan. He has experience working as a director, coordinator, team leader, and consultant with the United Nations, local and international NGOs, and government ministries in Cambodia. He is currently undertaking a commercial research for a book with Routledge publisher titled “Policy and Governance in Post-Conflict Settings: Theory & Practice”, pending publication in Spring 2016. He has also been engaged in researches for peer review journals of the Journal of Conflict Resolution Quarterly and the Journal of Agrarian Change.


    Conflicting and Competing Discourses: The Politics of Land and Development in Post-Conflict Cambodia
    Neo-Liberal Policy Paradigm: Whose Policy and Whose Outcomes
    Land Disputes and Development in Post-Conflict Cambodia: Justice for All
    A Search for Justice and Rights in Land Dispute Resolution in Cambodia
    Policy and Governance in Post-Conflict Settings: Theory & Practice.


    Doctor of Philosophy Social Science, University of South Australia,
    Master Degree in Public Management, Flinders University of South Australia
    Bachelor in Animal Production and Health, Royal University of Agriculture, 

  • Mohammad Bashir Mobasher , Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration
  • Department Faculty
  • Shamroz Khan Masjidi, Adjunct Instructor of Political Science and Public Administration
  • Nadeem Nooristani, Instructor of Political Science and Public Administration

    Nadeem Nooristani is an instructor of public administration in political science & public administration department at American University of Afghanistan since August 2017. Previously, he has worked as a teaching and research assistant in political science department at Ball State University in the United States of America. He has extensive experience working for both national and international organizations in Afghanistan i.e. CEO of a PSC.1 and ISO18788 certified private security firm; Investment Promotion Manager for Afghanistan Investment Support Agency; Human Resources and Health Benefits Coordinator for Management Science for Health – USAID; Visa Officer for Chinese Embassy; and Liaison Officer for different news channels and media agencies such as ARD First German TV, Reuters, RTI and many more. He is also the founder and president of “New Motion”, a consultancy firm that works in areas of political campaign management, public relations, advocacy, and research & development.


    Nadeem Nooristani obtained a B.S. in Economics (2009) from Aligarh Muslim University, a B.A. (double major) in Economics and International Studies (2014), and a master’s degree in Public Administration (2015) from Ball State University.




    Fields of teaching expertise include: public administration, Afghanistan government and politics, history of Afghanistan, state-building and political development in Afghanistan.

  • Ajmal Burhanzoi, Instructor of Political Science and Public Administration
  • Ali Reza Sarwar, Adjunct Instructor of Political Science and Public Administration

    Ali Reza Sarwar is Director of Admissions and Adjunct Instructor of Political Science at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). Before joining AUAF, Reza worked as Deputy Director of Public Information at Kabul Municipality where he, among other projects, managed the Sister Cities Partnership with several cities, including Kabul-Kansas Sister Cities Partnership. Reza holds Master Degree in International Affairs with Concentration in Intelligence and Security Studies and International Development from Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government and Public Service where he was on a Fulbright Scholarship from 2014 to 2016. Reza is the recipient of the Medal of Excellence and Certificate in Leadership from the Bush School. During his graduate studies, Reza worked as Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washing DC where he conducted research on the effectiveness of foreign aid in developing countries. Reza is a frequent contributor to major national and international media on issues related to security and development in Afghanistan and the region. Some of his articles are published in the Diplomat Magazine, BBC, World Economic Forum, the Conversation, International Affairs Forum, and CSIS among others.


    Area of teaching:

    Introduction to Political Science

    International Security


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