Mr. Azizullah Royesh

Mr. Azizullah Royesh is founding director of the Kabul-based Marefat High School, where he teaches courses on civic education, humanism, Quranic interpretation, Dari, and English. A former mujahideen fighter during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Mr. Royesh has devoted the past fifteen years to promoting democratic change in his country by publishing articles and pamphlets on human rights and by establishing a modern school system renowned for its emphasis on community building through civic education, participatory learning, and critical thinking. He has served as campaign manager for candidates in Afghanistan’s 2004 presidential and 2005 parliamentary elections, and has advocated for amendments to the country’s Shi’ite personal law. During his fellowship, Mr. Royesh is writing a book about his struggles to incorporate modern education and democracy into Afghan life, using his notes from past years. He is sharing his impressions of the United States with his students at Marefat School via regular blog postings and on the school’s wall bulletin board.


The 2014 Challenges for Afghanistan and the International Community, a talk with the Afghan-American community in Chicago, April 1, 2012. 

Civic Education for Democratic Change in Afghanistan: The Story of the Kabul-based Marefat High School, National Endowment for Democracy, March 15, 2012.


Afghanistan Challenge in Bonn, BBC Persian Service. December 4, 2011.


Voice of America Dari Service, The Gains and Challenges of Education in Afghanistan, March 29, 2012.

Voice of America, Dari Ashna TV, December 6, 2011.