Headshot of Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Cofounder and President of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA)


Shabana Basij-Rasikh is the cofounder and president of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA). The first and only boarding school for Afghan girls, SOLA operated in Kabul from 2016 to the summer of 2021, when the Taliban returned to power. That August, Basij-Rasikh led the evacuation of her entire school community to Rwanda, where SOLA has reestablished its operations and its students have resumed their studies. 

Basij-Rasikh is a magna cum laude graduate of Middlebury College and earned her master’s in public policy from Oxford University. She also holds honorary doctorates from SOAS University of London and Cedar Crest College. In 2021, she joined The Washington Post’s Global Opinions page as a contributing columnist, and in 2023, she received the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year award from the National Geographic Society.