Humaira Ghilzai is a Social Entrepreneur dedicated to bringing people together across cultures.

Humaira Ghilzai is a Social Entrepreneur dedicated to bringing people together across cultures.

Born and raised in Kabul, Humaira and her family fled Afghanistan and became one of many nameless refugees escaping the Russian invasion. 

After challenging teenage years adjusting to life in the United States, Humaira graduated the top of her class in high school and went on to earn a B.A. in International Marketing. She settled into the calmness of an international career working for high tech giants Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Her lull of achieving the American Dream came to an abrupt end on 9/11. 

Mother of two, Humaira decided it was time for her to help the women and girls of Afghanistan and pay it forward for her good fortune – great education, a career and the right to choose – all of which was a mere dream for her peers in Afghanistan. 

Humaira’s meticulously organized (not to mention, memorized) presentation on how Afghanistan’s history has affected women’s lives provided a powerful context for sharing the poetry and essays written by AWWP’s Afghan women writers. She has such a thorough understanding of her country’s rich heritage, cultural influences, and the complexity of Afghanistan’s current day struggles.
— Lori Noack, Executive Director Afghan Women's Writing Project

Humaira co-founded Afghan Friends Network (AFN) and instituted a Sister City relationship between Hayward, California and Ghazni, Afghanistan. She continues to spearhead critical programs that improve education for women, girls and boys, particularly in the province of Ghazni. Humaira has collaborated with US Embassy in Kabul, US State Department Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Humaira continues to be in contact on Afghanistan related issues with former US Ambassador Ted Eliot and former US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.


Humaira brings people together through stories. It’s these stories and personal experiences that have inspired her upcoming novel UNRAVELING VEIL. She lectures about Afghanistan, its people and women's issues. She especially enjoys meeting students with a global vision of our world. 

Humaira knows Afghanistan and its people well, and describes it in such a way that pushes past the usual “plight” narrative. She helps listeners understand the basic interests and needs of the people without over simplification but in a way they can connect with. It is impossible to leave a presentation of hers without a very much enriched understanding of Afghanistan, the richness of its people, and most importantly what that means for us.
— Mark Mullen, Head of Transparency International in the country of Georgia

Humaira’s cultural advocacy ranges from consulting with theater and film productions to her Afghan culture and food blog, Afghan Culture Unveiled. Humaira initiated the first official Pen Pal program between Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco and two private schools in Kabul. 

Humaira has travelled to six continents, 37 countries—including a pilgrimage to Mecca. She has hiked to Everest Base Camp, around Annapurna, up Mount Kenya, and in the Swiss Alps. In her free time, she cooks, walks her dog Cleo, practices chi-gong and mindfulness meditation. Humaira lives in San Francisco with her husband and teenage children.

 Speaking Engagements

Global Fund For Women  ~  The Asia Foundation  ~  Dining For Women  ~  UC Berkeley  ~  Sonoma Salon  

Berkeley Public Library  ~  San Jose State University  ~ Cal State University East Bay  ~  Women for Women

San Jose Repertory Theatre  ~  Arizona Theatre Company ~  Thunderbird University  ~  Urban High School

San Francisco Library  ~  Albany Elementary School  ~  San Francisco Friends School  ~  Adda Clevenger 

Rebuild Afghanistan Summit ~ Lick Wilmerding High School


Please make press and speaking inquiries at: or by phone 415-269-5252