Success Story: Zarlasht Sarmast, Politics and Security '2021

I am currently working for OSUN as a Program Coordinator for the Global Engagement Fellows program. I am the Director and CEO of the project “Afghanistan Politics on the Verge of Transformation.” Recently I finished my first MA in Politics and Security at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and I am currently doing my second Master’s Degree in applied Psychology at AUCA.
During the 2021 evacuations of AUCA, AUAF and OSCE students, I was one of the key members in the evacuation process. I was in touch with every single student in Afghanistan making sure they have all the required documents they needed to leave Afghanistan and make it safely to Bishkek. This is while I was working a full-time job as a coordinator for the Open Society University Network and had to write my MA thesis which I also managed to successfully submit.
In 2022 I co-authored a book about the evacuated students from Afghanistan “A journey from Kabul to Bishkek”. The book highlights the horrific journey which Afghan students took in order to reach safety. The book also focuses on telling stories of those who made it possible. The book is distributed across the OSUN network. After this book was published, it got the attention of the US embassy in Bishkek and I was invited to a meeting with Ambassador Donald Lu: https://www.auca.kg/en/unilife_extracur_students_authors/
In June 2022, I was invited to read the speech of Hillary Clinton to the graduating class of 2022 at AUCA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghCqlJzv49U
I am currently leading the organization of an international conference for Afghan students which will take place on the 22 and 23 of August 2022, supported by the U.S. Government. There are seven institutions involved and I am leading the organizing committee. The Afghan student’s conference is a convening of Afghan student leaders from 7 institutions across OSUN that is focused on supporting Afghan students across the world. With this conference I aim to connect students across the network to strengthen their  sense of community and provide resources to support students through creative problem solving and peer support.

Coming from Afghanistan, I noticed the trauma and stress among my peers and I recently created two clubs to gather Afghan students to promote the culture of unity and help decrease stress at least to some extent. These clubs are supported by the AUCA and titled 1- Movie Club and 2- Meditation club and I organize session weekly.