Najla Ayoubi

Spring 2017 Resident Fellow

Human rights activist, lawyer, and former judge in Afghanistan

Seminar Information | "Women As Agents of Change." Learn more & RSVP

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Najla Ayoubi is a lawyer and former judge and has extensive experience in judiciary, elections, human rights and women’s empowerment. She is a civil society and women / human rights activist. She served as a Legal Advisor for the State Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs of Afghanistan, Commissioner at the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan and Commissioner of Joint Electoral Management Body. She played a great role in Constitution making process of Afghanistan. She was the Senior State Attorney at the Attorney General Office of Afghanistan, State Attorney of the Parwan province, and Judge at the Parwan Provincial Court. She worked with The Asia Foundation Afghanistan in different capacities. She served as a Board Member of Open Society Afghanistan as well as the Country Director of Open Society Afghanistan (OSF representative office in Afghanistan). She was Board member of Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), Afghanistan Research & Evaluation Unit (AREU) Member of Board of Directors, Advisory Board Member of Afghan Education Production Organization(AEPO). She is currently serving as Co-Chair of Board in Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society ( AICS ), and Member of the Board of Trustees at Afghan Professional Network. Ms. Ayoubi has two MA degrees: one on Law and Politics from State University of Tajikistan and another on Post War Recovery and Development Studies from York University of United Kingdom. She is former Deputy Country Representative of The Asia Foundation, Afghanistan Office. Judge Ayoubi has also been appointed as the 2015 Peacemaker at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego United State. She is a Founding & Global Executive Board Member of Women’s Regional Network (WRN) Afghanistan-Pakistan and India.

Ayoubi's Ambassadors

Najla's answers to our Proust Questionnaire

What is your favorite virtue? Kindness and peacefulness. 

What is your chief characteristic? Strong leader.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends? Their company! I love their company. 

What is your main fault? It is difficult, so many faults! My main fault is that I’m away from my country and my family and people.

What is your favorite occupation? To be a human rights activist and human rights defender. 

What is your idea of happiness? Peace. Even if it’s only a little peace, that gives me huge happiness. 

What is your idea of misery? Destruction and conflict and war.

If not yourself, who would you be? A pilot. From a very young age, I dreamed to be a pilot. One day…

Where would you like to live? I love London. But I love Kabul more.

What is your favorite color? Black.

What is your favorite flower? Carnations. 

Who are your favorite authors? Annemarie Selinko. Also Etel Lillian Voynich, who wrote The Gadfly

Who are your favorite actors? Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie. 

Who are your heroes or heroines in real life? My mom. My family members and friends are heroes, I really look up to them. In the past, my father was my hero. 

What is your favorite food & drink? I love rice, which we call qabili. And English breakfast tea.  

What you hate the most? Loneliness. I grew up among people and I have been with people all my life, and I’d hate to be alone. 

What is a natural talent you’d like to have? Painting. 

What is your favorite motto? “If you want to achieve something you have to lose something.” 

What is one thing that you think people would be surprised to learn about you? I used to sing when I was young, and act. 

What is one thing that you’ve done that has surprised you? Most of the time, I’m surprised how I managed to be a good cook, because I was a horrible cook. Other than that, I’m surprised how I coped with my father’s death. I’m surprised how I handled that situation, very calmly.