May 2018 marked the graduation of The Initiative’s 100th, 101st and 102nd graduates since its inception in 2003: the Class of 2018! We are so proud of the hard work, determination and dedication to The Initiative’s mission these accomplished young scholars have demonstrated over the past four years, which began with their participation our New Student Summer Orientation program in Rhode Island in August 2014. All three women have distinguished themselves academically at our wonderful partner colleges and universities and have already begun giving back to Afghanistan through our Summer Internship in Afghanistan program.
Our 100th graduate, Azada Ahmadi, received her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Accounting and Economics with Minors in Mathematics and Finance from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina on May 12, 2018. Azada was born and raised in exile in Pakistan, and worked as a volunteer to educate women and girls in her community when her family returned to Afghanistan and before entering The Initiative’s US Undergraduate Education Program. During her time at Meredith College, Azada was an active member and held leadership positions with the Alpha Lamda Delta honorary academic society, the Meredith International Association, the Broyhill Business Fellow Program and the Meredith Accounting and Finance Association. Azada began paying forward the US undergraduate and leadership training she received from The Initiative through its Summer Internship in Afghanistan program in the Project Management Office of the Roshan Telecom Company in Kabul, Afghanistan. Azada hopes to pursue graduate education in finance and is very optimistic about the future of Afghanistan, seeing many opportunities for growth.
Our 101st graduate, Fereshta Noori, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science with Minor in Architecture from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts on May 20, 2018. Fereshta was born and educated in exile in Mashhad, Iran, and returned with her family to Afghanistan where her father is a university teacher at a private university in Kabul. Before entering The initiative’s US Undergraduate Education program at Sweet Briar College, she held worked at the Kabul Serena Hotel. Fereshta transferred to Smith College her sophomore year when Sweet Briar College threatened to close its doors due to financial hardship. Undaunted, Fereshta began paying forward the US undergraduate and leadership training she received from The Initiative through its Summer Internship in Afghanistan program as a student mentor in The Initiative’s New Student Summer Orientation program, as an architecture trainee at Omran Holding Group, working on the Portal Project at Turquoise Mountain Institute, and as an AutoCAD designer at Afghan Wireless. Fereshta recently received accolades for her work with the Mill River Greenway Committee as part of her Capstone Project at Smith College where her team collected and analyzed data to communicate to their community an optimum bank protection alternative recommendation. Fereshta is the recipient of The Initiative’s Kobra Ahmadi Memorial Award for Academic and Leadership Excellence and is returning to Afghanistan this summer where she will work as a Civil Engineering and Architect, someday with her own firm, as she also sees herself as an entrepreneur.
Our 102nd graduate, Marzia Hosseini, received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies with Minor of Public Health from Montclair State Universtiy in Montclair, New Jersey on May 25, 2018. Marzia was born and raised in exile in Mashhad, Iran, and returned to Afghanistan with her family when she was 13 years old. Before entering The Initiative’s US Undergraduate Education program, she held positions with the Omran Holding Group, including its Consulting, Construction and Engineering affiliate, and the Afghanistan National Horticulture Development Organization. During her time at Montclair State, Marzia was an active Mental Health Ambassador at Montclair State’s Counseling and Psychologic Services department. Marzia began paying forward the US undergraduate and leadership training she received from The Initiative through its Summer Internship in Afghanistan program as a researcher at the American Universtiy of Afghanistan for the JED Foundation. Her research including a survey of American University of Afghanistan faculty, administration and students to determine that institution’s readiness to cope with mental health crises. Marzia hopes to pursue graduate education in clinical psychology then work as a counselor in Afghanistan. She believes that is the best way to allocate her passion, love, intellect and abilities to assist her people, who are living in post-war society, and to help them relief and heal their war traumas.
Congratulations to The Initiative’s Class of 2018, Marzia, Fereshta and Azada! We could not be prouder of your academic accomplishment and promise as Afghanistan’s current leaders. Lead onward!