July 9, 2012

Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Melia meets with members of Afghan Civil Society on margins of Tokyo Conference. Left to right DAS Melia, Fahima Rahmati (Kandahar), Zia Moballegh (Kabul), and Baryalai Omarzai (Kabul). State Department photos

Ms. Fahima Rahmati (Southern Region): Fahima Rahmati was born in Kandahar Province where she is currently studying medicine following a two year Midwifery Diploma and graduation from Zarghona Ana High School. She is an Executive Director of the Health Education and Professional Skills for Afghanistan organization (HEPSA) which works to improve living conditions of poor and vulnerable women by helping them be economically self-sufficient. Before this, she worked as Administrative Officer for HEWAD Television based in Kandahar Province. HEPSA is part of the SAWABAC network.

Mr. Abdul Wahed Zia Moballegh (Kabul): Abdul Wahed Zia Moballegh is the Acting Head of Mission and Senior Project Officer at the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy). Currently, he manages a family law drafting committee, anti-discrimination efforts, and a project on democratic responses to ethnicity in Kabul. In the last three years, he has also campaigned and lobbied for the reform of Shia Personal Status Law and Family Law. He holds a BA in Law and BSc in Civil Engineering and has worked as a human rights activist since 1992 with a number of Afghan NGOs. After the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, he worked as a women’s rights activist with Afghan and international NGOs including UN Women where he lobbied for equality-based laws, such as juvenile code, family law, elimination of violence against women law, and labor law. He is a member of the Afghan Civil Society Forum board of directors and also has a close relationship with the 50% campaign and Civil Society and Human Rights Network. He was among the Afghan civil society representatives at the Bonn II Conference in 2011 and a member of Musawah, an international conference on family law in Malaysia in 2007 and 2009.

Mr. Barialai Omarzai (Kabul): Barialai was born in Kabul Province and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Kabul University in 1984, his BA in Finance from the Professional College of Commerce and Management in Peshawar, and his MBA from Preston University, Peshawar in 2001. He has worked for different national and international organizations in Afghanistan and since 1999 has been a member of the board of directors of Afghan NGOs Coordination Bureau (ANCB). Since 1991 he has served as an Executive Director of the Afghan Community Rehabilitation Unit (ACRU), an Afghan non-governmental, non-political, nonprofit organization established in 1991 to assist the war-torn country through vocational training, infrastructure and educational programs. Barialai has participated in many national and international conferences including the AFPAK Civil Society Forum in Islamabad this year and previously, the Afghan European Civil Society Conference, in Rome in 2011, and the DIHAD International Conference in Dubai in 2008 and 2009.