ASU plans to aid Afghan refugees from Asian University for Women

Beginning this month, the University will begin welcoming students from Afghanistan with education-based needs

To continue its initiatives to assist Afghan refugees, Thunderbird School of Global Management will welcome 80 to 95 Afghan refugee students from the Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong, Bangladesh, this month.

Due to the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban, 149 Afghan students from AUW have evacuated Afghanistan and will be relocated to multiple American universities to finish their studies, Kamal Ahmad, founder of the AUW, said in a news release Sept. 15. 

According to an ASU News article published Sept. 30, Arizona was expected to receive 1,610 Afghan refugees, and the University was planning to aid students with education-related needs in K-12 and higher education programs.

"We are ready and eager to collaborate in supporting this incoming group of women leaders from AUW. As a person who has experienced the same predicament, I am fully committed to providing the resources they need to start a new life," Sanjeev Khagram, dean of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, said Thursday in an email.

AUW administration reached out to find universities willing to host their Afghan students and "received promising responses from a number of US colleges and universities, including Arizona State University led by President Michael Crow," Ahmad said in the press release. 

After a harrowing evacuation from Kabul, Afghanistan, 149 students from AUW were transferred to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

Thunderbird's plan to host multiple Afghan refugee students from AUW is one of three internal initiatives at ASU.

According to Pamela DeLargy, executive director for the Education for Humanity Initiative at ASU and professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies, President Crow has also committed to hosting ten scholars from Afghanistan who would be considered at risk due to their professions as activists or educators.

"They will need to provide support in every way: health, counseling, housing, social support, cultural orientation and language if needed. It's a major commitment on the part of the university hosts," DeLargy said.

In another project, Thunderbird has also worked on evacuating current ASU students, alumni and staff from Afghanistan. According to Ghazal Khorshidi, assistant director for special projects at Thunderbird, there were seven ASU employees who were still in Afghanistan and were evacuated under the same initiative that aided former Thunderbird fellows to leave the country. 

READ MORE: Thunderbird School working with feds to help former fellows leave Afghanistan

The school also has multiple external initiatives, such as working on Phoenix Global Rising (PGR), a project focused on making a more culturally accepting city. 

"Following the state of Arizona and the city of Phoenix's commitment to assist the incoming refugees, the PGR members who are spearheading refugee advocacy have been uniting efforts to make sure that Afghan refugees will receive financial, employment, accommodation, educational and emotional support," Khagram said.


Reach the reporter at jkabiri@asu.edu and follow @jasminekabiri on Twitter. 

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