Rhodes Scholars – Hamed Wardak, Bill Bradley & Others

Certainly, we’ve all heard about people who were Rhodes Scholars, but what exactly does this mean?  The Rhodes Scholarship program, started by Cecil Rhodes in 1902, is the oldest international educational fellowship program in the world.

Each year, 32 American Rhodes Scholars are selected to join another 50 or so scholars from around the world at Oxford University.  These students enjoy an all-expense-paid opportunity to live and study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Rhodes Scholars are impressive people, who exhibit exceptional academic excellence, coupled with an outstanding service record and character.   Past Rhodes Scholars have included Hamed Wardak, musician Kris Kristofferson, athlete Bill Bradley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and many others.

Some of the Pillars of CUSAP

Hamed Wardak founded, along with others, the Campaign for a US-Afghanistan Partnership (CUSAP) which works to create stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.  This nonprofit organization includes both American and Afghan citizens working together to promote peace.  They espouse 9 pillars by which their organization is guided.  Here, we will address the first 4 pillars.

  1. Ensure Effective U.S. Assistance: They want U.S. programs in Afghanistan to be correctly targeted to benefit the most people.  These would include training the Afghan National Army and the National Police; reducing the drug trade; working against corruption; providing social services that people can count on such as healthcare, education, water and power; and fostering good governance.
  2. Focus on Regional Solutions: CUSAP believes that Afghanistan will only have sustainable security when it has cooperation with its neighbors.  To this end, they believe that the United States and Afghanistan need close cooperation in getting more involvement from Pakistan.  They should also try to work on gaining cooperation from China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other nations in the area.
  3. A Strong Bilateral Relationship: They believe that the United States needs to continue to support Afghanistan while also demanding better results from the Afghan government.  They want the Unites States and Afghanistan to formalize their partnership with a treaty that will ensure their close partnership, while also preserving Afghanistan’s traditions and sovereignty.
  4. A Strong National Army: They want to make sure that Afghanistan’s next leader maintains the military’s trust.  The Afghan army needs continue training and assistance and, they say, the United States should provide more heavy equipment and arms to the Afghan National Army.

CUSAP & Their 9 Pillars

Hamed Wardak is one of the founders of the Campaign for a US-Afghanistan Partnership (CUSAP). This nonprofit organization of American and Afghan citizens works to achieve a real peace and security in Afghanistan and to promote prosperity there.

In their efforts, they are guided by nine pillars.  These pillars, in brief, include: ensuring effective U.S. assistance; focusing on regional solutions; creating a strong bilateral relationship; having a strong national army; committing to reducing the drug trade; combating corruption and creating a good government; embracing traditional Islam to counter al Qaeda; generating a sustainable economic base;  and having united leadership.

Background for Hamed Wardak

Hamed Wardak is a founder of Fedayeen-e-Sol, founding vice-president of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce, and President and CEO of  Ludus Athletics.  Born in Kabul, Afghanistan and raised in Pakistan and the United States, Mr. Wardak has a great deal of insights about Afghanistan and about how the United States can help and support life there.

He received a BA in Government and Political Theory at Georgetown University in 1997, where he was the Valedictorian of his class.  After this, he was elected as an American Rhodes Scholar and he read for the M. Phil. And M. Litt in Politics at the University of Oxford.

Following his studies, Mr. Wardak worked in mergers and acquisitions at Merrill Lynch in New York and California.  From 2002-2003 he was the Afghan Finance Minister’s Private Envoy to the U.S.