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American University of Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan


University description (as per official university website)

The American University of Afghanistan is dedicated to providing world class higher education for the development of Afghanistan and the region.

The American University of Afghanistan will rank among the outstanding American international universities, serving as a model for private not-for-profit higher education in the country and the region. The University will be known for academic and professional programs that build on liberal studies and provide enlightened instruction in key areas that serve the development of the country and promote the aspirations of its students.

AUAF will operate from a spacious, attractive campus that is equipped with excellent, up-to-date facilities and technical capacity. The university will employ a diverse, highly educated international faculty to attract and instruct the finest male and female students in the country in a thriving environment of social and scientific inquiry.

Graduates will be able to think critically, meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world, be competitive with graduates of other universities globally , achieve technical and electronic expertise, develop new enterprises and employment opportunities, and assume leadership positions in business, education, social services, government, law, international relations, and other sectors. Together, the University and its constituents will contribute to the progress and prosperity of the country and the region.

AUAF is committed to rigorous transparency in all of its areas as it advances academic freedom and unfettered pursuit of knowledge. It respects the principles of equality and fairness without regard to gender, ethnicity, religion, or kinship and will conduct itself accordingly. It esteems original scholarship, academic honesty, meritorious instruction, and public service in its faculty, staff and students. AUAF embraces diversity and community, understanding that personal responsibility and ethical behavior enhance the collective achievements of students and other constituents of the University. It believes that the University’s responsibility reaches beyond the campus and the timely graduation of students to embrace the future employment and educational success of the University’s alumni. The University is committed to playing an active role in the extension of educational services to the people, agencies, businesses, and organizations of Afghanistan.

The idea of establishing the American University of Afghanistan, based on the American liberal arts model, emerged in 2002, shortly after the return of representative government to Afghanistan. In a relatively short time, that idea has become reality: AUAF is Afghanistan’s only not-for-profit, private, independent university. AUAF is non-political, non-sectarian, and committed to providing world-class higher education that will produce Afghanistan's future business, civic, and government leaders. AUAF already enjoys an impressive reputation for the quality of its international faculty and its academic programs, and looks forward to its first graduation ceremonies in spring 2011.

Important Milestones:

2002: Dr. Sharif Fayez, the Afghan minister of higher education, proposes the establishment of the nation’s first independent university, and in a speech to the nation, President Hamid Karzai stresses the important of education to the country.

2003: In an address to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), U.S. First Lady Laura Bush announces support for educational initiatives in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad gives strong support for establishing the American University of Afghanistan.

2003: The Afghanistan High Commission for Private Investment offers 99-year leases on two large tracts of land, in southwest Kabul near the gutted Darulaman Palace, to develop a private university. The American University of Afghanistan Foundation is chartered in Delaware as a nonprofit philanthropic organization to receive these leases.

2004: The Afghanistan Ministry of Higher Education grants a charter to the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) under Article 46, Chapter 2 of the Afghan Constitution and Article 445 of the Civil Code. The Coordinating Council of International Universities, based in the U.S., initiates a feasibility study to recommend an institutional framework for the new university.

2004: The university’s Board of Trustees conducts its first meeting in Dubai, U.A.E.

2005: In March, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush visits the site of the new university and announces a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch the institution.

2005: On a five-acre site that is part of the land lease, two buildings heavily damaged in combat between Afghan and Soviet forces in the 1980s and the resulting factional war are repaired for office and classroom use.

2006: In March, AUAF admits its first group of 53 students to its Foundation Studies Program (FSP), designed to strengthen students' English language and study skills. In September, the first credit-bearing undergraduate courses are offered, along with the first adult professional level programs.

2007: The university implements its first vision and academic plans, and begins offering summer courses.

2008: In June, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush announces $42 million in funding from USAID over five years. By the end of the year, enrollment in the undergraduate and Foundation Studies programs reaches almost 350 students.

2009: In August, the Board of Trustees appoints Dr. C. Michael Smith as the university’s president. The university extends its undergraduate educational offerings to include both Bachelor of Arts degrees and Associate of Arts degrees. Through a $5 million grant from USAID, the university installs a state-of-the-art e-learning facility so that students can benefit from collaboration with other universities within the region and as far away as the U.S. Support from the Bayat Foundation helps the university renovate the gymnasium. The Friends of the American University of Afghanistan, with offices in Washington, is awarded 501(c)(3) non-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service.

2010: Enrollment increases to 550 students (undergraduate and FSP). New degree programs—the Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration, and associate degrees in accounting and information systems—are approved by the Board of Trustees. The design of the new campus is completed with support from USAID. In May, the first student completes requirements for an undergraduate degree. In June, a successful fundraising event is held in Washington for the Laura Bush Women’s Resource Center. In August, the university opens a newly constructed faculty office building.

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