The American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, founded in 2003, is a center in Kabul for visiting American academics – teachers and students – who are engaged in Afghanistan studies. Its work is directed by faculty members from a group of about 25 American universities, all of which offer some courses on Afghanistan affairs. When in Kabul, members give lectures on their areas of research, in such areas as anthropology, political science, history, the arts, folk literature, and music. The Institute’s long term objectives are to increase Afghanistan studies in American universities to pre-war levels and to bring American professionals into personal contact with their Afghan counterparts.
Dr. Omar Sharifi, the Institute’s new Director, is a native of Kabul born in 1978. He graduated from Nadeira High School in 1995 and the Kabul Medical Institute in 2003. Following his medical studies, he worked as Head of Research and Publications for the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society in Kabul. From 2006-2008, he studied Cultural Anthropology at Columbia University in New York.
The Institute’s outgoing director, Dr. Whitney Azoy, long time cultural anthropologist in the Afghanistan area, is currently at his retirement residence in Spain with his partner, Dr. Ana Tuset, Professor of Psychology at Barcelona University. They both promise to return to this country where they have many friends and interests.