San Francisco and Kabul, August 2, 2007 — The Asia Foundation, the premier non-profit organization devoted to Asia’s development since 1954, announced today the appointment of Dr. George Varughese as Country Representative in Afghanistan. Serving as Deputy Country Representative in Afghanistan since 2005, Dr. Varughese’s in-country experience and program expertise in Afghanistan position him well for this important leadership role. Dr. Varughese will replace Dr. Jon Summers who has been leading the Foundation’s country office in Afghanistan through a critical period of tremendous program growth since 2003. Dr. Summers began his post as the Foundation’s Country Representative in Pakistan on August 1.
Dr. Varughese has worked in the fields of political economy of development, social science research, and management in Nepal, India, Italy, Madagascar, and the U.S. Most recently, in Afghanistan, he spearheaded the largest public opinion survey ever conducted in that country, the findings of which present an important view of Afghan perceptions of their country’s progress since the ouster of the Taliban. He also directed the poll’s companion study “State Building, Political Progress, and Human Security in Afghanistan: Reflections on a Survey of the Afghan People,” which examines areas of priority interest in Afghanistan, and describes how Afghans view the security situation, democratic values, trust in formal and informal institutions, political progress, and the role of women in society.
Prior to his post in Afghanistan, Dr. Varughese was Deputy Country Representative in The Asia Foundation’s office in Nepal. In this role, he was a key figure in developing Foundation programs to strengthen the capacity of key government institutions and civil society organizations to provide access to justice through alternate dispute resolution, encourage greater respect for human rights, and support policy reforms in the economic sector with regard to small business. Dr. Varughese joined The Asia Foundation from the United Nations Development Programme in Nepal, where he was Country Program Development Advisor until 2000. Dr. Varughese holds a joint doctorate in political science and public administration from Indiana University.