Five visiting scholars from Afghanistan at the University of Washington have been reported missing to the University of Washington Police. All five have been unaccounted for since Monday, Oct.6.
The scholars were visiting the University of Washington as part of a three-month research and training program. The 38 scholars in the program were selected by the Afghan eQuality Alliance, a Global Development Alliance sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through a cooperative agreement with Washington State University. The scholars are in the U.S. on student visas.
Scholars in the program receive training in public management, policy analysis, and leadership, as well as guidance on their library research for their master’s thesis through the Evans School of Public Affairs. The visiting scholars are working toward Master of Public Policy and Administration degrees at Kabul University.
The Afghan scholars are midcareer government and nonprofit officials from Afghanistan. Participants in the program work at organizations including the Afghan Ministries of Public Health, Foreign Affairs, and Finance; Afghan Civil Service Commission; and other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
“The future of Afghanistan depends on building strong public and nonprofit sectors,” said Sandra O. Archibald, dean of the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. “This is a great program and we are sorry that these scholars are not taking advantage of everything that it has to offer them. We have hosted international scholars and fellows for over 20 years and something like this is highly unusual.”
The visiting scholars failed to appear for scheduled training sessions and did not notify the University of plans to be absent. Scholars agree to attend all training sessions as part of the program. University of Washington staff reported the scholars missing after they did not appear for consecutive days of training. UWPD has notified the appropriate federal authorities.