Afshan Kharal

Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs

Master of International Affairs

Afshan Kharal was born in Pakistan and emigrated with her family to Brooklyn, NYC at the age of one. Afshan attended Hunter College as a JFEW scholar where she majored in political science with a minor in international relations. As the first in her family to attend high school and college, she is passionate about bridging the educational gap for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and marginalized communities. As an undergrad, Afshan interned with UNWomen and worked on the HeForShe Global Youth Engagement movement. She then continued on to work in the NYC Mayor’s office and a NYC council member’s office; where she focused on local problems and attended town halls on various issues such as NYC employment laws and violent police encounters. At Hunter, Afshan was an active participant of Model United Nations and won multiple awards as a team and individually. These conferences allowed her to strengthen her negotiating skills and be exposed to various cultures/perspectives, skills that will ultimately help her in her career as a Foreign Service Officer. Post graduation, Afshan has been working on a NGO in Pakistan that provides humanitarian assistance to those in need and focuses on projects such as creating schools so the youth have access to a quality education.

Afshan will pursue a master’s degree in international affairs with a concentration on economic and political development at Columbia University in preparation to join USAID as an Education Officer. She is humbled and excited to be a Payne fellow as it allows her to deliver aid and work with marginalized communities on the behalf of the American people.  During her free time, Afshan enjoys going for long walks, discovering new cafes and watching travel documentaries.