Country Director, Afghanistan
Payvand has spent her career in the international development sector, primarily focusing on the rights of women and girls. She specializes in executive leadership, organizational development, gender, education, negotiation, and policy work in fragile and conflict-affected states, specifically Afghanistan, where she has lived for over a decade. Payvand has held a variety of leadership positions for UN Women, BRAC, and PWC, among others. She was senior adviser to the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, and also led the UK government's largest education fund in Afghanistan: the Girls' Education Challenge. She began her career as a high school teacher and then a field organizer for the 2008 Obama campaign. Payvand was awarded a Transformational Leadership recognition at the annual NATO Leaders’ Meeting and selected as Activist of the Year by the Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington. She believes in the power of people to come together towards practical and brave solutions.