Sharafudin Mirzayee ’15 returned home to Kabul, Afghanistan this summer to complete a three-week internship with the Afghanistan New Market Development program for the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
“Throughout this internship, I gained a great deal of knowledge about the functioning of firms and associations and the market as a whole, most importantly in Afghanistan,” says Mirzayee, an international relations and economics major. “I have learned how to utilize my HWS academic experience in practice and also how to adjust to a full-time office setting.”
The Afghanistan New Market Development project is a program run by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan, funded by the World Bank and implemented by a management team of GIZ. The project aims to revitalize private sector activities in the cities of Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Herat.
“GIZ is one of the organizations that served Afghanistan in its reconstruction endeavor,” Mirzayee explains. “In the aftermath of the Taliban regime, Germany has provided military and financial support to Afghanistan.”
As an intern, Mirzayee visited firms and associations, determining areas of the firm that needed support. He also wrote diagnostic and specification reports, detailing the circumstances of the firm. Other assignments included attending meetings that encouraged business toward the New Market Development project.
“While attending these firms and associations, I developed an understanding of the goods and services produced domestically in Afghanistan,” Mirzayee says. “I also learned about their strengths and weaknesses, and their competition level with local and international competitors.”
To support some of the expenses of the experience, Mirzayee was awarded a stipend from the Colleges’ Pica Award.
Prior to HWS, Mirzayee attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., where he formed a club to send school supplies to children in Afghanistan. He also volunteered in Afghanistan last summer as a community crisis planner. At HWS, Mirzayee is on the executive board of the International Student Association, and a member of the Orange Key and Chimera honors societies.