American University of Afghanistan (AUAF)


  • Implementation period: August 2013 – July 2018
  • Project budget: $40 million

Afghanistan’s higher education system suffered tremendously following the Soviet occupation in 1979, and the subsequent wars and civil conflicts of the 1980s and 1990s. Even with the return of representative government and greater stability, higher education in Afghanistan has seen a lack of investment and development. To address this need, the United States Government through USAID joined the Ministry of Higher Education, Afghan business leaders, and private donors in Afghanistan and abroad to establish the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in 2006.

AUAF is the only private, independent, non-profit university in Afghanistan. Operating on the U.S. liberal arts model, the university offers undergraduate degrees in business administration, information technology and computer science, political science, law, and public administration.  Additionally, AUAF offers a Master of Business Administration and Master of Education.  AUAF’s English-based curriculum provides a world-class education to Afghanistan’s next generation of leaders. Over 40 percent of its faculty members hold doctoral degrees.  AUAF values free expression, tolerance, mutual respect, critical inquiry, and academic rigor. It teaches those values within the Afghan cultural context and the protections afforded by the constitution of Afghanistan.


  • Offers undergraduate degree programs in business, law, information technology and computer science, political science, and public administration.
  • Provides the Foundation Studies Program (FSP), a college preparatory experience for high school graduates to improve their English reading, speaking, and writing skills to the level needed for admission to AUAF’s undergraduate programs.
  • Delivers professional development training for employees of ministries, businesses, and NGOs, and to the general public through short-term customized courses.
  • Provides equal educational opportunities for women in its regular academic programs and through specialized training.
  • Offers a campus environment that is supportive and intellectually challenging, with the types of services and facilities that students would expect on a U.S. campus.


  • Opened in 2006, with 53 students in the FSP, AUAF has increased enrollment to 1,308 students in graduate and undergraduate programs, 32 percent of whom are women.
  • Held its first commencement in May 2011, with 32 students (22 percent women) graduating with bachelor’s degrees.
  • By the end of 2014, AUAF students had received 313 undergraduate and 36 graduate diplomas.
  • Offers Afghanistan’s first Western-style Master of Business Administration program.
  • Renovated campus with seven major academic and student services buildings.
  • Developed a campus plan for building new state-of-the-art educational facilities on a 75-acre site provided by the Afghan government, with construction to begin this academic year.
  • Conducted round table discussions with women-owned businesses in Balkh, Kandahar, and Herat provinces, through the AUAF Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development. 

Last updated: March 03, 2015

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