2022 Commencement Speaker
Shabana Basij-Rasikh is a trailblazing Afghan educator, humanitarian, journalist and women’s rights champion. She currently serves as President of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA), the school she co-founded as a teenager. Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, Basij-Rasikh finished high school in the United States and went on to Middlebury College in Vermont. There she co-founded SOLA, the country’s first and only girls boarding school in 2008, with the mission of providing access to quality education to girls across her homeland, where girls’ education has often been proscribed.
Basij-Rasikh continues her work with SOLA in promoting girls’ access to education and celebrates the power of a family’s decision to believe in their daughters. In 2018, she was awarded the Malalai Medal, one of Afghanistan’s highest national honors. In 2019, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list, and in 2021, The Washington Post named her a contributor to their Global Opinions section.