Magazine / People

Student calls attention to troubles of ordinary Afghans

Najim Dost

Student Najim Dost founded the organization Jobs for Afghans. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

As a PhD student at DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Ahmad Najim Dost is not studying unfamiliar territory. He lived most of his life in Pakistan as an Afghan refugee.

“I grew up in developing countries, and I wanted to study about where I come from,” Dost says.

Dost and his family were at the center of the 1992 civil war in Kabul, Afghanistan. They fled to Pakistan and started a new life in a refugee camp. Dost later got a job at the International Rescue Committee. He went to Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, for his undergraduate studies and earned a master’s degree at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Brad Miller, director of graduate admissions at the Korbel School, recruited Dost to the University’s PhD program.

“His application rose to the top of our pile very quickly because of the quality of his previous academic work and his fit for our program,” Miller says.

Dost also helped found Jobs for Afghans, a research and advocacy group for non-military solutions in Afghanistan. The group’s mission is to call attention to the troubles of ordinary Afghans, for whom life is a daily struggle for survival.

“It is disheartening that things in Afghanistan are getting worse. I want to do what I can for the Afghan people in need,” says Dost, who also teaches in the economics department at DU.

After he gets his PhD, he says, he hopes to teach in Afghanistan. But he wonders whether the country will be in a condition that enables him and his family to live there.

“When it comes down to it, we all need to feed our family. It is what drives us all, in the U.S. and in Afghanistan, but the means of achieving this goal is different,” Dost says. “The countries may be different, but I like to focus on the similarities. We are all humans. We all smile, laugh and eat. Why shouldn’t we all have the same opportunities?”

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