American University of Afghanistan (AUAF)

  • Duration: 
    Aug 2013 – July 2019
  • Value: $45 million


Afghanistan’s higher education system suffered tremendously following the Soviet occupation in 1979, and the subsequent conflicts of the 1980s and 1990s. After the Taliban regime ended in 2001, the country needed significant investment to develop its higher education sector, and access to a liberal arts education has remained limited. To address this need, the United States Agency for International Development (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 first private, independent, non-profit university in Afghanistan. Operating on the U.S. liberal arts model, the university offers four undergraduate degrees in: Business Aadministration, Information Technology and Computer Science, Political Science and Public Administration , and Law. Additionally, AUAF offers Master of Business Administration. 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 promotes these values within the Afghan cultural context and the protections afforded by the constitution of Afghanistan.


  • Provides the Foundation Studies Program, a college preparatory experience for high school graduates designed to strengthen their English language proficiency and study skills to the level needed for admission to AUAF's undergraduate programs.
  • Delivers professional development training for public and private sector employees, and to the general public through short-term customized courses in Kabul and four regional centers.
  • Provides equal educational opportunities for women to gain certification in the regular academic programs as well as high-demand, market-connected fields of accounting, information and communication technology.
  • Offers a campus environment that is supportive and intellectually challenging, with world class services and modern facilities.


  • Opened in 2006 with 53 students, AUAF has increased enrollment to 717 students in graduate and undergraduate programs; 41 percent are women.
  • Awarded 430 undergraduate degrees and 391 graduate degrees as of December 2015.
  • Launched Afghanistan's first Master of Business Administration program in 2011.
  • Opened five Professional Development Institutes in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Jalalabad to provide professional training and certification programs in English, business, accounting, IT, and project management, which contributed to more than six percent of AUAF's overall revenues.
  • Developed a Bachelor of Arts and Law degree with Stanford Law School to cultivate a professional class of lawyers ready to navigate Afghanistan's unique and challenging legal landscape.
  • Equipped over 300 women with the entrepreneurial and business skills needed to become successful businesswomen through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program at the International Center for Afghan Women's Economic Development (ICAWED).
  • Renovated the existing 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.
  • Implemented student mentorship program to support leadership development.

Last updated: November 20, 2016

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