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Azita Ghanizada

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Azita Ghanizada

Azita Ghanizada is an Afghan-American actress best known for her work in film and television and is the founder and president of the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition.

Photo credit: Kathryna Hancock

Afghan American mutli-hyphenate, Azita Ghanizada’s journey from political asylum seeker to Hollywood, has broken many cultural barriers. One of the first women from Afghanistan to star in a series on television in the US on "Alphas,” she has worked consistently on film and television, holding her own opposite Academy Award Winners and nominees such as Rachel Weisz, Mahershala Ali, David Strathairn, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Casey Affleck among others. Recently concluding a recurring run on CBS’s “United States of Al,” she is currently making her Broadway debut in “The Kite Runner” at The Helen Hayes theater, again breaking through as the first woman from Afghanistan to be on Broadway. 

As the Founder and President of MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition (MAAC) she built the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hiring category into the entertainment business in 37 years. She has advocated tirelessly for the advancement of MENA creatives in Hollywood through education, research and programming.

An outspoken activist for women’s rights in Afghanistan, she is committed to assisting those facing oppression, famine and violence through advocacy and fundraising efforts via her role as a Global Ambassador to Women for Women International.  She also sits on the National Council for Welcome.US to assist with Afghan refugee resettlement, and serves as the SAG-AFTRA National MENA Committee Chair. 


Women in Afghanistan are starving and have lost access to their hard-earned rights, education, and jobs. Urgent action is needed.

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We've compiled a list of books, blogs, podcasts, (and more!) so you can hear directly from Afghan women and learn about their inspirational and courageous stories. 


Latifa Faqirzada worked for Women for Women International - Afghanistan for nearly four years. With the help of the UK government, she left Kabul in August 2021 during the final days of the US/UK troop withdrawal. She is currently residing in London and advocating for the women who remain in Afghanistan. This blog is her personal story.