Dr Orzala Nemat

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Research Associate
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Dr Orzala Nemat is an internationally known Afghan scholar & think tank leader. She is an expert in political ethnography, holding a PhD in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and an MSc in Development Planning from the University College London (UCL). Dr Nemat recently founded and is leading Development Research Group Limited (DRG), which aims to promote the multi-disciplinary concept of development studies in the developing world through research & evaluations, open-access teaching, and mentorship.

Dr Nemat served as the director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) from 2016-2022. AREU is an internationally recognised top research think tank in Afghanistan. She led several global research projects in Afghanistan during her tenure, including a sizeable five-year project, "Drugs and (dis)Order: transforming war economies into peace economies' funded by Global Challenge Research Funds (GCRF) and UKRI. She has been a member of the UKRI Peer-review college since 2017.

Dr Nemat has first-hand experience in living as a war refugee and leading under intense conflict situations for over decades. She started her public career in Pakistan as a refugee and grassroots leader, founding a humanitarian organisation that provided health and educational support to women and children between 1999-2007. Dr Nemat assisted and helped the most marginalised members of society through educational programs, building schools, protecting female victims of violence through shelters and peacebuilding for children and leading advocacy for legal reform.  She also supported various grassroots, national and international organisations for over 23 years of her professional life in different capacities. Dr Nemat was acting chairperson of the Open Society Foundation's Afghanistan until July 2021 and serves on Afghanaid, a British Charity working in Afghanistan as a trustee.

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