Wais Said (B.A. ’84) returns home to Afghanistan to rebuild its tech infrastructure
Wais Said always dreamed of going back to Afghanistan with the knowledge he gained at Georgia State. In 1978, Said’s family was forced to flee his home country at the onset of the Soviet War.
“I’ll never forget the immigration officer in New York who said ‘Welcome home!’” Said said. “We came to Atlanta in August that year and Georgia State accepted my credentials and SAT score. The rest is history.”
Since graduating with a degree in math and information systems, Said has worked as a systems architect in the information technology sector. Three years ago, he received a call from USAID with an offer to finally reach his dreams.
“In the past three years,” he said, “we have accomplished the impossible in Afghanistan, specifically in terms of capacity building, revenue generation and most significantly, gender and outreach in southern Afghan municipalities — the toughest area by far.”
Said began working as a systems architect and then moved to the principal program adviser position to build governance and democracy, outreach and productivity.
Said’s work focuses on the promotion of e-governance in Afghanistan by connecting municipalities across the nation to the central government in Kabul.
This was the first time in Afghani history technology was used to contain corruption, to connect citizens with their government and to create a system of transparency and accountability.
Said’s story was unimaginable only a few years ago. However, Said sees these accomplishments as an indicator that American efforts in the nation have already started to pay off in many ways.
“Contrary to what you often hear in the media,” he said, “the efforts that went into building this fragile democracy have not been in vain. The efforts behind our work and the growing success story are proof of that.”