Sahar Halaimzai is the Deputy Director of the Civic Engagement Project where her work focuses on movement building, campaigning and transnational mobilization, dialogue processes and design. Her current focus is on the politics of knowledge production and preservation of research, expertise and cultural and artistic practices and human rights. She is a fellow at the Conflict and Civicness Research Group at LSE IDEAS where she co-designed and leads PEACEREP’s Afghanistan Research Network.
She has over 15 years’ experience working at the nexus of human rights, freedom of expression and movement building. She is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council where in 2021 she co-designed and co-directed a 1.5 track high level trilateral strategic dialogue with key figures from the US, European Union and Afghanistan and was part of the leadership team.
In 2019 she co-founded the Afghan peace campaign, Time4RealPeace, to counteract the exclusion of Afghan women, civil society and minorities from peace negotiations including talks between the US government and the Taliban and intra-Afghan talks. The campaign focused on building a diverse, global coalition to support a meaningful and proper peace process, that at its centre included women, victims, minorities and civil society.
Sahar spent seven years leading campaigns and communication for global literary and free expression organisation, PEN International. At PEN, Sahar designed and ran global campaigns, with PEN offices worldwide, focused on bringing the voices of marginalized, silenced and persecuted writers, journalists and communities to centre stage. Notable campaigns include the Sochi Olympics - Out in the Cold - highlighting regressive free expression legislation and the Make Space campaign for refugee writers.
She currently serves on the board of Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization, working to support and protect human rights defenders, and a strategic advisor to Uplift Afghanistan, a humanitarian-focused organization supporting grassroots organizations. In 2020, Sahar was the recipient of the inaugural London Writers Award and is currently completing her first manuscript.
- ‘Key Lessons - Supporting At-Risk Afghan Researchers’ LSE, May 2023
- ‘The Politics of Knowledge Production and preservation of Afghan expertise”, LSE, May 2023
- ‘US Withdrawal will not end the forever wars’, Chatham House, 22 April 2021 (with Marika Theros)
- ‘Whose voices count on Afghanistan? The politics of knowledge production’, Atlantic Council, 1 April 2021
- ‘Afghanistan needs a ceasefire now to battle Covid-19, The Atlanticist, 24 April 2020 (with Marika Theros)
- ‘Afghanistan deal: Don't trade away women's rights to the Taliban. Put us at the table’ USA Today, 1 March 2020 (with Mary Akrami and Rahela Sidiqui)
- ‘A Taliban peace deal at what cost?’, LA Times, 6 March 2020 (with Staffan De Mistura, Margot Wallström)
- The Afghan ‘peace’ deal will not bring peace to the Afghan people, Al Jazeera, 3 September 2019 (with Horia Mosadiq)