American University of Afghanistan (AUAF)

  • Duration: 
    Aug 2013 – Nov 2019
  • Value: $64.4 million


After the Taliban regime ended in 2001, Afghanistan needed significant investment to develop its higher education sector, and access to liberal arts education 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 was chartered under the new Afghan Constitution and Civil Code as a private, independent, non-sectarian institution of higher education. AUAF implements an American model of higher education, replicating in Afghanistan a robust version of the U.S. liberal arts, student-centered, critical thinking learning model, which prepares students for participation in the global marketplace. The structure of its academic programs, course content, pedagogical, and critical thinking skills in its course offerings are based on results-oriented internationally recognized best practices in education. Experienced faculty members, teaching staff, and administrators are recruited from U.S. and international colleges and universities. Students are encouraged to participate in diverse campus and learning activities inside and outside the classroom. Resources that facilitate the learning process, such as the 14,000-volume library, dependable Internet, a variety of learning-teaching methodologies and technologies, classrooms, laboratories, and student services are structured to meet or exceed international standards for quality.

AUAF opened in September 2006 and became operational for the 2007-2008 academic years, with 141 students enrolled as freshmen or sophomores. The first 32 graduates received their degrees in a ceremony on May 26, 2011.


  • Provide the Foundation Studies Program, a college preparatory experience for high school graduates, designed to strengthen English language proficiency and study skills to the level needed for admission to AUAF's undergraduate programs.
  • Deliver 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.
  • Provide 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.
  • Offer a campus environment that is supportive and intellectually challenging, with world-class services and modern facilities.


  • Increased student enrollment from 53 in 2006, to 1123 in spring 2017 in graduate and undergraduate programs; 44 percent are women.
  • Awarded 430 undergraduate degrees and 391 graduate degrees by December 2015.
  • Launched Afghanistan's first Master of Business Administration program in 2011.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Established the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in March 2017. The CTL was designed to provide direct pedagogical support for AUAF’s teaching staff to constantly improve the level of education provided at AUAF.

Last updated: September 18, 2017

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