Said T. Jawad
Ambassador to the United States, Embassy of Afghanistan
Golden Gate's Ambassador
It’s a long way from Kandahar to San Francisco. But out of a love for liberty, necessity, resilience, determination, desire, and possibly fate, our esteemed alumnus, His Excellency Ambassador Said T. Jawad, traveled that long distance.
Said grew up in an environment of prosperity. His country was known for its rich cultural history, precious works of art, beautiful scenery, and productive farms and orchards. Unfortunately, this calm, beautiful life was disrupted by the decade-long Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which caused massive upheaval in Kandahar, Kabul, and the rest of the country. Entire cities and infrastructure were leveled, and farms and orchards destroyed. It was not a safe place to raise a family.
Because of the tyranny of the Marxist regime and the disruption and upheaval throughout the country, first Said and then his father made the difficult decision to uproot the family from their home. They were clearly in harm’s way. Shortly after he had finished law school in 1980, Said went into exile in Germany where he continued his legal studies at Westfaelishe Wilhelms University in Muenster. Said remained in Germany for nearly six years; his family later left for Pakistan.
After completing his studies in Germany, Said moved with his new wife Shamim to New York, where he was employed at a Wall Street firm. While they were living in New York City, Said and Shamim traveled several times to San Francisco where Shamim’s family was living. After a few years in New York, they decided to move to San Francisco and Said accepted a job with Steefel, Levitt & Weiss, where he worked from 1989 to 2002. Meanwhile, Shamim, who was determined to complete her education, learned of Golden Gate University’s program for working adults. She enrolled and completed her undergraduate degree. Impressed with the course offerings and flexible scheduling, Said began the Executive MBA program in 2000, finishing in 2001.
He recalls vividly the excellent faculty, his classmates with whom he continues to keep in touch, and the international study trip that was an integral part of the program. He and his EMBA cohort went to Chile and Argentina and he and a few friends took a side trip to Brazil. He credits that trip with helping him carry out his current ambassadorial duties, which include being ambassador to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, as well as his primary role as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States.
Shortly after earning his Executive MBA and six months after the 9/11 attack, Said returned to his home country to assist in the difficult and ongoing state-building process.
Before being named ambassador on December 3, 2003, he served as President Karzai’s press secretary, chief of staff, and director of the Office of International Relations at the Presidential Palace. He worked closely with the Afghanistan president in formulating strategies and plans, developing and implementing policies, and building national institutions such as the widely respected Afghan National Army. Since being named ambassador, Said has worked to make the Embassy of Afghanistan one of the most innovative and responsive embassies in the country. Indeed, it is emerging as one of the most successful missions in Washington, DC.
In carrying out the management of the embassy, Said relies a great deal on the management concepts and tools he learned in the Executive MBA program. He has been a leader and an innovator, incorporating technology to reach out to the world. His goal is to help educate people about his beautiful country, the challenges it faces, and the creative solutions that are being brought to bear to help solve some of the nation’s problems.
In October 2007 the ambassador and his wife hosted a reception for GGU alumni, which the GGU president and his wife attended. There were approximately a hundred alumni and guests. Said recalls the evening vividly: “It was a tremendous joy and we had a wonderful time meeting alumni from the ‘60s and ‘70s who demonstrated that the alumni of GGU are doing well and are everywhere beyond the Bay Area.” Two years earlier Said had taken time out of his hectic schedule to speak at GGU’s Centennial Campaign Opening Gala at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco.
Ambassador Said Jawad readily acknowledges Golden Gate University and how what he learned through the EMBA program has been so useful in his role as ambassador; we acknowledge our pride in claiming him as our “GGU Ambassador.”