Welcome to the Homepage of the Working Group Afghanistan

In fall 2014, a working group interested in the complex topic of Afghanistan in the broadest sense was established at the University of Education Freiburg by the Professorship for General Sociology with a Focus on Educational Research. After the events of 2021, the working group was formalized and intensified its activities in research, training, and practice. We officially formalized a 'Arbeitsstelle Afghanistan' at the University of Education Freiburg. The goal of this working group is to conduct in-depth research on the topic of Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora along with the three areas of education, health, and sociology. On this website, we would like to inform you about our past and present projects.

Moreover, we have described our theoretical approaches in order to keep our perspectives in the context of the complex research on Afghanistan as transparent as possible.

The working group consists of a 5-member directorate and cooperates closely with other colleagues e.g., Prof. Dr. Anne-Marie Grundmeier (University of Education Freiburg, Institute for Everyday Life Culture, Sports and Health), Dr. Fereschta Sahrai, M.A., M.A. (University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica), Dr. Asadullah Jawid, M.Sc. (American University of Afghanistan, Kabul), and Michael Kunz of the Help Committee Afghanistan (Schaffhausen, Switzerland).


(in alphabetical order)

A picture containing grass, outdoor, person, tree Description automatically generated Prof. Dr. Uwe H. Bittlingmayer

is the founder of the Working Group Afghanistan. He has extensively researched on Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora.

A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generated with medium confidenceDr. Stefanie Harsch

joined the research group in 2016 and has a key interest in health and educational matters in Afghanistan as well as Afghan migrants in Germany and other countries. Already in her master’s thesis, she explored community-based health promotion approaches in Afghanistan and also in her doctoral thesis she assessed health literacy in Afghanistan and among Afghans in Germany. She is the project coordinator for the DAAD-funded German-Afghan-University Collaboration with Gawharshad University (projects: STEWS 2021 and HOPE 2022) and is delighted to plan and implement research and educational programs together with Afghans.

A picture containing person, person, suit, standing Description automatically generated Dr. Mohammad Salihi

served as the former chancellor of Gawharshad University. He holds a BA, MA and PhD in political science. Dr. Salehi served in various positions and governmental positions in Afghanistan. He served as a senior advisor of curriculum development for the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education and was the founder and vice-chancellor for academic affairs at Kateb University. He also served as dean of the department of political science at Avicenna University before starting his career at Gawharshad University. He has contributed to many manuals used in Afghanistan’s higher education institutes, including manuals on human rights, peace education, gender and politics and democracy. Dr. Salehi has taught human right courses in Afghanistan for over 12 years and worked with various national and international NGOs on these issues.

A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generated with medium confidenceProf. Dr. Diana Sahrai

is professor of pedagogy of childhood at the University of Education Freiburg and has been part of the research group since 2014. Her special research interests are family, child rearing and peacebuilding in Afghanistan.

A person in a suit Description automatically generated with low confidenceDr. Zaki Baqer

is a political sociologist and his research interest include education, informal institutions, peace, conflict resolution and media. He obtained his PhD in 2017 from the Tarbiat Modares University with a thesis on the political role of the Loya Jirga in Afghanistan. In 2011, Zaki participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program which is a professional program for current and emerging international leaders and funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

From 2020 to 2021 he was an assistant professor and vice-chancellor for research at Gawharshad University in Kabul, where he worked on different projects including peace, peace education, local councils and Jirgas, and media campaign on Covid-19 in Afghanistan. He has supervised over 10 research projects and academic thesis. Zaki was the deputy director for policy at the office of the President of Afghanistan (2017-2020).

Alina Döring, Master student of Health Education

External Research Partners

Asadullah Jawid (American University of Afghanistan, Kabul)

Omar-Khaled Sahrai (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, Deutschland)

Ebrahim Jawid (Shuhada Organization in Ghazni, Afghanistan)

Fereschta Sahrai (University of Peace, Costa Rica)

Ali Sabah (Shuhada Organization)

Noor Mohammad Atapoor,  Mohmmad Jawed Nazari, Ahmad Zia Bahrami, Reza Siar  (Avicenna University, Kabul)

Michael Kunz (Afghanistanhilfe, Schweiz)

Further research Partners

Within the scope of our different projects, we were able to work with a variety of different cooperation partners. There was immediate, project-related cooperation on the one hand (as with the GIZ), and medium-term, strategic cooperation on the other hand (as with the Gawharshad University). In order to present both forms of cooperation in a realistic way, the following list includes the form and content of the cooperation next to the names of the institutions in order not to give the impression of being a “big player” in the German research on Afghanistan. 

Project PartnersIn the following projects


  • Health Literacy Research 2017/18
  • CERSO Impact Evaluation Training 2020

Arnold-Bergsträsser-Institut für kulturwissenschaftliche Forschung

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges and Prospects, 2015

Avicenna University, Kabul

  • Study: Parental Involvement in Early Childhood writing development 2020 (PH supported)

Bibliotheca Afghanica

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospectives, 2015, Exhibition: Türme des Wissens (towers of wisdom)

Deutsch-Afghanische Initiative

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospects, 2015

Fachhochschule Nord-West-Schweiz, PH Basel

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospects, 2015
  • Health Literacy Forschung, 2017/18,
  • Parental Involvement Study, 2019
  • STEWS, 2021

Galtung-Institut für Friedenstheorie und Friedenspraxis

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospects, 2015

Gawharshad Universität, Kabul

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospects, 2015
  • Health Literacy Research, 2017/18
  • Visit of Lecturers, 2018
  • Scholarship for 2 students from Gawharshad University at the UoEF (2019)
  • STEWS: Afghan-German-University cooperation, 2021
  • HOPE: Afghan-German University cooperation, 2022

GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospects, 2015

Herat University

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospects, 2015
  • Anthology “Education and Development in Afghanistan” 2019

Shuhada Organisation

  • Health Literacy Research 2017/18; CERSO: Center for Evaluation and Research at Shuhada Organization, Training: Impact Evaluation 2020,
  • Supporting Impact Evaluation of their projects 2020, 2021

Universität Basel

  • Conference: Teacher Education in Afghanistan – Challenges und Prospects, 2015

Further Information

Further Resources and Links