Simin Wahdat was the first OAD Scholar. Simin is an Afghan gender specialist with over 10 years experience as an international development practitioner focusing on gender, good governance, human rights, youth participation, and civil society development. She is a specialist in women’s political and civic participation in Afghanistan, and has developed and managed technical assistance activities for ministers, parliamentarians, and all levels of government staff; served in the US Congress as a legislative fellow organizing support for Afghan women among senior US government officials; and worked with the Afghan Ministry of Education to develop and implement a national gender and diversity strategy. She is an experienced gender advisor for USAID programs in Afghanistan, notably serving as Democracy International’s head of efforts to increase women’s participation in the 2012 elections. In the course of her career, Simin has worked in Afghanistan, Kenya, Pakistan, and the United States. She also has experience in designing and facilitating peacebuilding trainings to civil society. Simin earned her MA in Strategic Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University and her BA in International Relations and Women and Gender Studies from Bucknell University in the United States. She is fluent in English and Dari, and speaks intermediate Pashto.