Shabana Basij-Rasikh is the cofounder and president of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA), the country's first and only girls' boarding school.

Why you should listen

In the autumn of 2012, Shabana Basij-Rasikh stood on the TEDWomen stage in Washington, DC, and challenged the world to dare to educate Afghan girls -- to join her in her life's work of creating the best educated generation Afghanistan had ever seen, one that would help her nation rise above the desolation of years spent under Taliban rule.

In the summer of 2021, Basij-Rasikh stood at the airport in Kabul as the Taliban roamed the streets of her hometown once more, and helped to coordinate the evacuation of nearly 250 members of her school community, including nearly 100 SOLA students, away from Afghanistan and into Rwanda. 

Two events, nine years apart. Now Basij-Rasikh will tell the story of the days that came between -- and her hopes for the days to come.

Basij-Rasikh is a graduate of Middlebury College and Oxford University. She was featured on the Forbes "30 Under 30 Asia" list and is a contributing columnist for the Washington Post.

Shabana Basij-Rasikh’s TED talks

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When education is not a given: 10 inspiring talks

February 11, 2013

From age 6 through age 11, Shabana Basij-Rasikh risked her life to go to school. The Taliban had banned girls in Afghanistan from studying at universities and other educational institutions and, thus, Basij-Rasikh dressed as a boy, posing as an escort for her older sister. Together, the two would place their books in grocery bags […]

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