Shaharzad Akbar

Academy Associate, International Law Programme

Headshot of Shaharzad Akbar


Shaharzad Akbar is an Academy Fellow in Human Rights at the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House.

In her time with Chatham House, she is focusing on lessons learned from Afghanistan’s human rights journey and the implications for the country’s human rights movement moving forward.

Shaharzad is a human rights activist from Afghanistan, currently in exile, with a diverse professional background in human rights, media and culture and youth mobilization.

Her work experience spans from establishing and running a consultancy firm in Kabul, supporting Afghan civil society and media in her role as Country Director of Open Society Afghanistan, to working with the government on development issues and most recently leading Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Shaharzad completed an MPhil at Oxford University in 2011; previously she obtained her BA (cum laude) from Smith College in the U.S.

Past experience

2019-2021 Chairperson, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
2018-2019 Senior Advisor, UNESCO
2014-2017 Country Director, Open Society Afghanistan