Farhat Popal

Advisor, Women's initiative
George W. Bush Institute

Farhat Popal serves as an advisor to the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. She is currently the Immigrant Affairs Manager for the City of San Diego. She formerly lead the WE Lead program at the Bush Institute and is responsible for research and programmatic efforts that empower women worldwide to lead in their communities and countries.

Ms. Farhat studied Political Science/International Relations and History of the Near East at the University of California, San Diego. She earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the Bush Institute, she worked on human rights programs in Afghanistan and Central Asia at the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in Washington, DC, and evaluated reconstruction projects in Afghanistan with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. While with SIGAR, she spent considerable time conducting field work at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In addition to her international work, Ms.  Farhat evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of local government programs at the City of San Diego and City of Oakland’s Offices of the City Auditor.

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Read the article Women's Leadership and Economic Empowerment: A Solution for the Economies of the Middle East and North Africa.
Mar 8, 2021

Women's Leadership and Economic Empowerment: A Solution for the Economies of the Middle East and North Africa

By: Farhat Popal
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are undergoing transformative changes As the region’s complex landscape of issues evolves, prioritizing women’s economic empowerment should be an essential part of addressing current challenges across MENA countries.
Read the article U.S. Efforts to Protect Afghan Women and Girls.
Jan 14, 2021

U.S. Efforts to Protect Afghan Women and Girls

By: Farhat Popal
When the United States stands with Afghanistan, it’s making a commitment to the security of all Americans as well as to the rights of women and girls everywhere. It is in our national security interests and our moral responsibility to support human rights, democracy, and peaceful, sustainable development in Afghanistan.
Read the article Keep Lebanon in Your Thoughts.
Aug 20, 2020

Keep Lebanon in Your Thoughts

By: Farhat Popal
The massive Aug. 4 explosion in Beirut killed more than 170 people, injured thousands, and destroyed a significant portion of Beirut’s city center. Senior Program Manager of the Women's Initiative, Farhat Popal, reflects on this tragedy.
Read the article What Does an American Look Like?.
Jul 2, 2020

What Does an American Look Like?

By: Farhat Popal
Americans of all backgrounds are working together to end the pandemic. Dedicating any energy toward frivolous prejudices against Asian Americans is a wasted effort that undermines the battle against COVID-19.
Read the article Mrs. Laura Bush: Message to the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council.
Jun 19, 2020

Mrs. Laura Bush: Message to the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council

By: Farhat Popal
Despite many challenges, there is room to hope for a brighter future in Afghanistan. That is the key directive in Mrs. Laura Bush’s recent message to the members of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council (USAWC), a non-partisan public-private partnership established in 2002 that convenes governments, civil society and the private sector to support Afghan women and girl’s education, healthcare, economic empowerment and leadership.
Read the article COVID-19: Why Gender Matters.
Apr 21, 2020

COVID-19: Why Gender Matters

By: Farhat Popal
Headlines point out that early data shows COVID-19 could become severe more often in men than women — and while that might be true, women still bear the brunt of the impact. Here's why.