Afghanistan Center for Excellence | Rafiullah Sherzad
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Chief Executive Officer

Rafiullah Sherzad serves as CEO at ACE, with his appointment announced in January 2019. Rafiullah’s diverse professional experience makes him well-suited for the wide range of projects under ACE’s management; he has more than 12 years of experience in in the private, development, and education sectors, with areas of expertise that include social entrepreneurship, economics, and policy development.

Rafiullah assumed his first leadership role as the Director of Rana Institute, in Jalalabad. There he managed 63 full-time employees in support of over 3,000 students engaged in higher education programs. Rafiullah later joined Kardan University, serving as Program Coordinator, Director of the Jalalabad Campus, and lecturer.

Following this experience in higher education, Rafiullah was recruited for the USAID-funded Afghanistan Municipal Strengthening Program (AMSP), as Municipal Economic Advisor for Panjshir Province. After a year putting his business education to use in the Panjshir Valley, Rafiullah joined the Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization – Harakat, as Proposal Development Specialist. After three years, he was promoted to Acting Director, where he led the process of project design and implementation for national private sector reform projects. Major projects included the establishment of the Afghanistan Land Authority (Arazi), the creation of national standards through the Afghanistan National Standards Authority (ANSA), the establishment of the Afghanistan Institute of Banking and Finance, and the creation of Afghanistan’s first public credit and collateral registries.

After completing his graduate studies in the US on a Fulbright scholarship, Rafiullah took a position as Contents Support Specialist with America’s largest internet-based learning management system, HealthStream Inc. Following two years with HealthStream, Rafiullah decided to return to Afghanistan in support of USAID’s largest women’s empowerment program, Promote. He worked with Promote for nearly a year as Public Private Partnership Advisor, establishing more than 10 partnerships with private and public sector entities in Afghanistan during this period.

The next stop for Rafiullah was Save the Children’s Afghanistan office, where he took a position as Head of Award and Partnership Management. There he helped secure funding of $26 million dollars from eight donors and nine countries in less than a year. Rafiullah was also involved in the process of allocating more than $2 million dollars of funding for local NGOs, as part of Save’s partnership strategy.

Rafiullah received his graduate education at Cornell University, in New York, through the prestigious Fulbright scholarship program. He earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Cornell in 2014, with a concentration in Economics and Financial Policy. Rafiullah completed his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from Preston University in Peshawar, Pakistan.

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