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Professor Zaher Wahab retires to continue work in Afghanistan

August 02, 2012

After 40 years at Lewis & Clark, Professor of Education Zaher Wahab is “retiring” to work full-time in his home country of Afghanistan. “I don’t really believe in retirement,” Wahab says. “I want to change the world.”

In this video, Wahab talks about his plans to make the world a better place.

According to Vern Jones, professor and chair of teacher education—and Wahab’s colleague for 39 years—Wahab has already changed the world for the better.

“His commitment to issues of equity and social justice has both driven and highlighted his work both at L&C and in Afghanistan,” Jones said. “I have never worked with a professional who for over 40 years has demonstrated his level of drive and passion for continuing to impact society as does Zaher. I know his decision to return full time to his work in Afghanistan is based on his belief that his work there can have an even greater impact than continuing to educate future teachers at Lewis & Clark.” 

In addition to teaching courses ranging from educational anthropology to international political economy, Wahab has devoted four months of service to the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education every year since 2002. He served as senior advisor to the Minister of Higher Education in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2006 and as a visiting researcher-professor in a master’s degree program for teacher education faculty from Afghanistan’s 16 teacher-training colleges from 2007 to 2010.

Wahab has had numerous local and national media appearances as a result of his work in Afghanistan, including this recent profile in the Oregonian.

Wahab said his most memorable moments from his 40 years at Lewis & Clark relate to his overseas experiences.

“Meeting with Tomás Borge, for example, in Managua, Nicaragua,” Wahab said. “The Sandanistas had just taken over the country and he was the minister of interior. And I managed to invite him to have dinner with us in our little hotel in Managua and spend the whole evening with our students. This was unforgettable. And then my other memorable thing really was in Portugal, where the Portuguese had just overthrown the junta, and somehow I arranged to have a meeting with the new leadership, the revolutionary command council in their big chamber in Lisbon.”

Please visit the Lewis & Clark Graduate School YouTube Channel for the extended version of the video with Wahab, in which he discusses his departure from Lewis & Clark, names a few of his most revered colleagues, offers a message to future students, and shares his plans for his upcoming year in Afghanistan.


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