Director, Governance Programs, Afghanistan

Mr. Idrees Ilham is The Asia Foundation’s Director of Governance Programs in Afghanistan. As a democracy and governance specialist, Mr. Ilham worked with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Afghanistan since 2004. He managed the largest election, political processes and civil society projects, totaling over $250 million. In 2009 and 2010 election in Afghanistan, Mr. Ilham led the biggest Election Observation Mission within the Office of Democracy and Governance.

Prior to his position as democracy and governance specialist, Mr. Ilham served as the Communication Officer for USAID/Afghanistan where he supported the Mission’s achievement of its objectives in Afghanistan by producing and disseminating public information about the Mission’s activities to local and international media, and through them to the public, to build support for USAID’s programs. In addition, as the primary point of contact and liaison for the Mission, Mr. Ilham was mainly responsible for collecting, analyzing, investigating, managing and distributing composite information associated with the USAID foreign assistance program in Afghanistan within the context of the overall donor reconstruction and transition effort.

Furthermore, Mr. Ilham worked an associate producer with Cable News Network (CNN) from 2001 to 2004. He produced many television programs by contributing significantly to the content, topics and themes for inclusion in many shows. Mr. Ilham was largely involved in travelling to almost every province of the country conducting researches, public relations, writing and working under deadlines and stressful conditions.

After working for USAID/Afghanistan, from May 2012 to January 2013, Mr. Ilham worked as the lead consultant/senior advisor to Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA). During this period, Mr. Ilham also supervised the communication and donor relation departments at Dehsabz-Barikab City Development Authority (DCDA), the executive branch of building New Kabul City.

Education: Mr. Ilham earned an online Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in New Delhi in 2008. Additionally, he earned his second Bachelor in Liberal Arts (major in political science, public administration and law) from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).