|13th President of Afghanistan|
29 September 2014
Serving with Abdullah Abdullah (Chief Executive Officer)
|Vice President||Abdul Rashid Dostum|
|Preceded by||Hamid Karzai|
|Chancellor of the Kabul University|
22 December 2004 – 21 December 2008
|Preceded by||Habibullah Habib|
|Succeeded by||Hamidullah Amin|
|Minister of Finance|
2 June 2002 – 14 December 2004
|Preceded by||Hedayat Amin Arsala|
|Succeeded by||Anwar ul-Haq Ahady|
|Born||Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
1949 (age 66–67)
|Relations||Hashmat Ghani Ahmadzai (brother)|
|Alma mater||American University of Beirut
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (Pashto/Persian: اشرف غني احمدزی, born 1949) is the current President of Afghanistan, elected on 21 September 2014. An anthropologist by education, he previously served as finance minister and the chancellor of Kabul University.
Before returning to Afghanistan in 2002, President Ghani worked with the World Bank. As the Finance Minister of Afghanistan between July 2002 and December 2004, he led Afghanistan's attempted economic recovery after the collapse of the Taliban government.
He is the co-founder of the Institute for State Effectiveness, an organization set up in 2005 to improve the ability of states to serve their citizens. In 2005 he gave a TED talk, in which he discussed how to rebuild a broken state such as Afghanistan. President Ghani is a member of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, an independent initiative hosted by the United Nations Development Programme. In 2013 he was ranked 50th in an online poll to name the world's top 100 intellectuals conducted by Foreign Policy magazine and second in a similar poll run by Prospect magazine, ranking just behind Richard Dawkins.
Ghani came in fourth in the 2009 presidential election, behind Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, and Ramazan Bashardost. In the first round of the 2014 presidential election, Ghani won 31.5% of the vote, second to Abdullah who secured 45% of the votes cast. Both candidates went on to contest a run-off election, which was held on 14 June 2014 with Ghani winning 55.27% of the votes with a lead of a million votes over Abdullah.
He attended the American University in Beirut, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1973 and his Master's degree in 1977. He met his future wife, Rula, while studying at the American University of Beirut.
He initially wanted to study Law at Columbia University but then changed his major to Cultural Anthropology. He was invited to teach at University of California, Berkeley in 1983, and then at Johns Hopkins University from 1983 to 1991. He has also attended the Harvard-INSEAD and World Bank-Stanford Graduate School of Business's leadership training program. He served on the faculty of Kabul University (1973–77), Aarhus University in Denmark (1977), University of California, Berkeley (1983), and Johns Hopkins University (1983–1991). His academic research was on state-building and social transformation. In 1985, he completed a year of fieldwork researching on Pakistani madrassas as a Fulbright Scholar.
After leaving Kabul University, Ghani co-founded the Institute for State Effectiveness with Clare Lockhart, of which he was Chairman. The Institute put forward a framework proposing that the state should perform ten functions in order to serve its citizens. This framework was discussed by leaders and managers of post-conflict transitions at a meeting sponsored by the UN and World Bank in September 2005. The program proposed that double compacts between the international community, government and the population of a country could be used as a basis for organizing aid and other interventions, and that an annual sovereignty index to measure state effectiveness be compiled.
Ghani was tipped as a candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations at the end of 2006 in a front page report in The Financial Times that quoted him as saying, “I hope to win, through ideas.” Carlos Pascual of the Brookings Institution was also quoted, praising Ghani's "tremendous intellect, talent and capacity."
In 2005 Ghani gave keynote speeches for meetings including the American Bar Association’s International Rule of Law Symposium, the Trans-Atlantic Policy Network, the annual meeting of the Norwegian Government’s development staff, CSIS’ meeting on UN reform, the UN-OECD-World Bank’s meeting on Fragile States and TEDGlobal. He contributed to the Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.
Finance Minister of Afghanistan
Ghani was recognized as the best finance minister of Asia in 2003 by Emerging Markets. He carried extensive reforms, including issuing a new currency, computerizing treasury operations, instituting a single treasury account, adopting a policy of balanced budgets and using budgets as the central policy instrument, centralizing revenue collection, tariff reform and overhauling customs. He instituted regular reporting to the cabinet the public and international stakeholders as a tool of transparency and accountability, and required donors to focus their interventions on three sectors, improving accountability with government counterparts and preparing a development strategy that held Afghans more accountable for their own future development.
Poverty eradication through wealth creation and the establishment of citizens' rights is the heart of Ghani’s development approach. The National Solidarity Program covers 13,000 of the country's estimated 20,000 villages.
2009 Presidential Election
On May 7, 2009, Ashraf Ghani registered as a candidate in the Afghan presidential election, 2009. Ghani's campaign emphasized the importance of: a representative administration; good governance; a dynamic economy and employment opportunities for the Afghan people. Unlike other major candidates, Ghani asked the Afghan diaspora to support his campaign and provide financial support. He appointed Mohammed Ayub Rafiqi as one of his vice president candidate deputies, and paid for the noted Clinton-campaign chief strategist James Carville as a campaign advisor.
On 28 January 2010, Ghani attended the International Conference on Afghanistan in London, pledging his support to help rebuild their country. Ghani presented his ideas to Karzai as an example of the importance of cooperation among Afghans and with the international community, supporting Karzai's reconciliation strategy. Ghani said hearing Karzai's second inaugural address in November 2009 and his pledges to fight corruption, promote reconciliation and replace international security forces persuaded him to help.
2014 Presidential Election
After announcing his candidacy for the 2014 elections, Ghani tapped General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a prominent Uzbek politician and former military official in Karzai's government and Sarwar Danish, an ethnic Hazara, who also served as the Justice Minister in Karzai's cabinet as his pick for vice presidential candidates. This Ghani-Dostum pairing is the most remarkable in today's race. In an article for the London Times on 20 August 2009, when Ghani received three percent of the votes in the presidential elections, he called Dostum a "killer" and lashed out against Karzai for calling Dostum back from Turkey to lend him his support. Now, Ghani has invited the very same Dostum to be his closest partner in the hope that this new alliance will bring him victory. "Politics is not a love marriage, politics is a product of historic necessities," he explained to Agence France Presse a few days after he had chosen Dostum. After none of the candidates managed to win more than 50% of the vote in the first round of the election, Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the two front runners from the first round contested in a run-off election, which was held on 14 June 2014.
Initial results from the run-off elections showed Ghani as the overwhelming favourite to win the elections. However, allegations of electoral fraud resulted in a stalemate, threats of violence and the formation of a parallel government by his opponent Dr. Abdullah Abdullah camp. On 7 August 2014 US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Kabul to broker a deal that outlined an extensive audit of nearly 8 million votes and formation of a national unity government with a new role for a chief executive who would serve as a prime-minister. After a three month audit process, which was supervised by the United Nations with financial support from the U.S. government, the Independent Election Commission announced Ghani as the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan after Ghani agreed to a national unity deal. Initially the election commission said it would not formally announce specific results, it later released a statement that said Ghani managed to secure 55.4% and Abdullah Abdullah secured 43.5% of the vote. Although it declined to release the individual vote results.
Ashraf Ghani is married to Rula Saade, a citizen with dual Lebanese and American nationality. Rula Saade Ghani was born in a Lebanese Christian family. The couple married after they met during their studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon during the 1970s. They eventually settled in the United States and obtained U.S. citizenship. However, Mr. Ghani renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2009 so he can be able to run in the Afghan elections.
Ashraf and Rula Ghani have two children, a daughter, Mariam, a Brooklyn-based visual artist, and a son, Tariq. Both were born in United States and carry US citizenship and passports. In an unusual move for a politician in Afghanistan, Mr. Ghani at his presidential inauguration in 2014 publicly thanked his wife, acknowledging her with an Afghan name, Bibi Gul. "I want to thank my partner, Bibi Gul, for supporting me and Afghanistan," said Mr. Ghani, looking emotional. "She has always supported Afghan women and I hope she continues to do so."
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- National Solidarity Program
- Ahmad Majidyar (January 2009). "Afghanistan's Presidential Election" (PDF). American Enterprise Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-09-18.
A world-renowned economist, Ahmadzai was a key figure in the formation of the post-Taliban government in Afghanistan. The chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness, he served as an adviser to the United Nations for the formation of the Bonn Agreement and as finance minister of Afghanistan from 2002 to 2004. His recent harsh criticism of Karzai’s government has prompted speculation that he may run for president. An ethnic Pashtun, Ahmadzai has not officially announced his candidacy.
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- "Ghani Pledges to Back Karzai in Rebuilding Effort "
- "Kick Out Karzai We Deserve a Second Chance". NPR. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Ex-finance minister Ghani bullish as Afghan election race begins". NPR. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Tanya Goudsouzian. "Afghan first lady in shadow of 1920s queen?". aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Al Arabiya: Afghanistan’s next first lady, a Christian Lebanese-American?". alarabiya.net. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Ashraf Ghani inaugurated: Is Afghanistan ready for a high-profile first lady?". Telegraph.co.uk. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- Nathan Hodge and Margherita Stancati (29 September 2014). "Ghani Sworn In as Afghan President". WSJ. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.|
- Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Office of the President
- Profile: Ashraf Ghani - BBC News
- Afghan Elections Dossier – Ashraf Ghani, August 2009 – Radio France Internationale
- Ashraf Ghani at TED
Hedayat Amin Arsala
|Minister of Finance
Anwar ul-Haq Ahady
|President of Afghanistan