Beyond the Headlines: Afghanistan’s Past, Present and Future

  • 27 Sep 2022
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, 411 N Central Ave #750, Phoenix, AZ 85004




About the Program

Afghanistan’s history has been a long, tumultuous one, but despite this Afghanistan is more than just a war-torn country. It suffers from the legacies of a culture that has taken centuries to evolve. The recent history of Afghanistan is a multi-dimensional one, with many different layers that link the past, present, and future.

Touching on issues such as education, diplomacy, economic development, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, international security, and more, panelists Rangina Hamidi, Former Minister of Education of Afghanistan, and Javid Qaem, former ​​Afghan Ambassador to China, in a conversation moderated by Jack McCain, American Airlines Director, State and Government Affairs (PHX) will discuss their lives as politicians, diplomats and international figures, in post 9/11 Afghanistan as well as their views into the future of Afghanistan.

Please join us on September 27th for a 5:30 pm reception with beverages and appetizers and 6:00 pm program at the Arizona State University Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions campus in Downtown Phoenix. This program is open to PCFR members and the general public.


Complimentary Registration



Tuesday, September 27, 2022

5:30 PM -7:00 PM



Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

411 N Central Ave #750, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Minister Rangina Hamidi

Former Minister of Education in Afghanistan

Rangina Hamidi is an Afghan American writer, educator, social activist and politician. She is well known as an advocate for women's rights in Afghanistan and has engaged in various social projects to empower girls and women in Afghanistan.

Rangina Hamidi was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In 1981, she emigrated to Pakistan and then to the USA in 1988 with her family. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in Religious Studies and Women & Gender and will complete her Masters in Global Affairs and Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University in December 2022.

Ms. Hamidi returned to Afghanistan in 2003 and for two decades worked tirelessly to better the lives of Afghan citizens through development projects, advocacy, and, most importantly, education. Examples of Ms. Hamidi's accomplishments include the establishment of a full value-chain model of an all-women’s social enterprise in Kandahar whose products have reached Europe, the Middle East, Americas as well as other parts of the world. In this endeavor, Ms. Hamidi designed and implemented a holistic and full-environment approach to bring value to Afghan women at each part of the value chain.

Ms. Hamidi successfully led the Mezan International School to integrate and implement a world-class and internationally accredited curriculum with a solid foundation of Islamic education, Afghan history, Afghan values, and multi-lingual education. Ms. Hamidi was Minister of Education of Afghanistan, until August 15, 2021 and is now serving as Professor of Practice with Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ms. Hamidi is well versed in child development, educational psychology, educational management, Islamic pedagogy, curriculum, business administration, development in conflict-affected countries, and gender issues from an Islamic perspective.

She has contributed to numerous publications and radio programs, including TIMES Asia Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Der Spiegel, Business Week, The Guardian, The Telegraph, NPR, BBC, and Voice of America. Her latest publication is a book that she has co-authored entitled “Embroidering within Boundaries: Afghan Women Creating a Future."


Ambassador Javid Qaem

Former Afghan Ambassador to China

Javid Qaem grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he became a physician after earning his Bachelor's degree from Kabul Medical University. He later received a Master's in International Development from the University of Turin and a Master's in Public Administration from Arizona State University, where he received a Fulbright Scholarship.

After pursuing his education abroad, Qaem returned to Afghanistan, where he worked with the World Bank to help secure over $150 million in economic development funding for Afghanistan. He later became the Deputy Minister of Policy and Programs in the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics, Director General for Planning and Programs in the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, and the Senior Advisor on Political Affairs in the National Security Council of Afghanistan.

Qaem was most recently the Afghan Ambassador to China, in which time he negotiated for shipments of medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic and assisted Afghan citizens living in China.

Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban take over in 2021, Qaem and his family moved from Beijing to Phoenix, Arizona, where he is currently a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University's School of Public Affairs.



Jack McCain

American Airlines’ Director for State and Local Government Affairs

Jack McCain is a reserve Naval Aviator for Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85, and graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. He has deployed five times in the Pacific, Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan where, as an Afghan Hand, he flew alongside Afghan pilots in the Blackhawk, throughout southern Kandahar and Helmand.Prior to that he was a leadership instructor at the Naval Academy and a Search and Rescue Pilot in Guam.

He is currently working as American Airlines’ Director for State and Local Government Affairs for the Western United States, and serves on the board of the McCain Institute.

Exploring Leading Foreign Policy Issues


PCFR is dedicated to growing Arizona’s global prominence by providing forums that explore critical foreign policy issues and build enduring international connections.


Tel: 602 441-4967

1934 E Camelback Rd, Suite 120-421 Phoenix, AZ 85016

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software