Rahmatullah Hamraz, 33, has a BA in Economics from Panjab University, India and an MBA from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). He has used this education to find and understand the root causes of intergroup hostility and armed insurgency in Afghanistan, his home country. Through the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP), Hamraz conducted discussions with the communities affected by these forms of violence, which pose a lethal threat to noncombatants.

His recognition that the underlying issues of intergroup hostility include severe cycles of poverty and a dearth of jobs caused Hamraz to focus even more on peacebuilding in Afghanistan; his own educational desire arose from his family’s support for him to educate himself, despite their poverty.

Hamraz’s exposure to war, as well as poverty, caused a strong interest in returning to Afghanistan after his time studying in India as an undergraduate. Once there and as an MBA student at AUAF, he participated in the competition for the Maqsudi Social Entrepreneurship Award through designing a project focused on poverty alleviation, peace-building and women economic empowerment. The Maqsudi Social Entrepreneurship Competition challenges AUAF-MBA students to use rigorous business principles to create sustainable, positive solutions to some of Afghanistan’s most challenging problems—poverty, health, education, hunger, environmental degradation and development. In 2017, Hamraz won the Maqsudi Social Entrepreneurship Award for his project, Backyard Chickens, which will distribute laying hens to families in order that they have a source of income and stimulate their local economies.

Hamraz will return to Afghanistan after he graduates from the Obama Foundation Scholars Program to fight against discriminations, such as those on the basis of race, religion, tribe, and gender, in his home country.

He will maintain and strengthen his connections from the Obama Foundation Scholars Program through direct contact, as well as through conferences and workshops.

“I am interested in being exposed to people of different backgrounds and different cultures, because I can learn different things from such people. I want to make good contacts and relations with my fellow scholars and university professors, make discussions with them, and learn from their experiences."