The U.S. Department of State cordially invites you to join a virtual Town Hall for Afghanistan Resettlement Stakeholders on November 9 at 1:30 p.m. EST. The event will provide the growing community of Americans working to support the resettlement of our Afghan allies with inter-agency updates on Operation Allies Welcome, information from key supporting partners, and an overview of opportunities for individuals, communities, and organizations to help welcome our new neighbors.
The event will be hosted by the Assistant Secretary for Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Ambassador Donald Lu, and will include remarks from Operation Allies Welcome Coordinator Governor Jack Markell, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya, Ambassador Tracey Jacobson from the Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts (CARE), Senior Bureau Official for the Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration, Nancy Izzo Jackson and representatives from key external partners including Welcome.us, the Afghan American community, and a veteran leader from the Afghan Evac Coalition. Remarks will be followed by an audience question and answer session.
Ambassador Donald Lu
Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Donald Lu became Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs on September 15, 2021. Prior to this assignment, Assistant Secretary Lu served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic from 2018 to 2021 and the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Albania from 2015-2018. Before his posting in Albania, Assistant Secretary Lu worked on the Ebola crisis in West Africa as the Deputy Coordinator for Ebola Response in the Department of State. Ambassador Lu is a Foreign Service Officer with more than 30 years of U.S. government service. He served as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in India (2010-2013), Chargé d’Affaires (2009-2010) and DCM (2007-2009) in Azerbaijan, and as DCM in Kyrgyzstan (2003-2006). As a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa from 1988-1990, he helped to restore hand-dug water wells and to teach health education and latrine construction. Assistant Secretary Lu is from Huntington Beach, California. He graduated from Princeton University with both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in international relations.
Governor Jack Alan Markell
Coordinator for Operation Allies Welcome
Governor Markell is a former United States businessman and politician who served two terms as the Governor of Delaware, from 2009 to 2017. He served three terms as the State Treasurer of Delaware, from 1999 to 2009. In 2008, Markell was elected as Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and the National Governors Association. On June 23, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Markell to serve as the United States Ambassador to the OECD. Markell was born and raised in Newark, Delaware, and graduated from Newark High School, along with his wife, Carla. He received an undergraduate degree in economics and development studies from Brown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Under Secretary Uzra Zeya
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Uzra Zeya, a diplomatic and non-profit leader with over 30 years of international affairs acumen. From 2019 to 2021, she served as President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding after a distinguished 27-year Foreign Service career. Ms. Zeya served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires in Paris; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State; Political Minister-Counselor in New Delhi; and Deputy Executive Secretary to Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton. She also served in Syria, Egypt, Oman, Jamaica and various policy roles at the Department of State. Ms. Zeya speaks Arabic, French and Spanish. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University and is the recipient of several State Department Superior Honor and Senior Performance awards, the Presidential Rank Award, and the French Legion d’Honneur.
Ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson
Senior Department of State Liaison to the Unified Command Group
Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts
Ambassador Jacobson is a United States diplomat and a former Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kosovo. She served as the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from January 2017 through October 2017. She retired, then returned in 2021 as the State Department’s Director of the Afghanistan Task Force.
Nancy Izzo Jackson
SBO Population, Refugees, and Migration
Nancy Izzo Jackson is a career member of the Senior Executive Service and serves as Senior Bureau Official for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). From 2019-2021, Ms. Izzo Jackson served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs, where she supported the formulation and execution of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. From 2015-2019, Ms. Izzo Jackson served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, overseeing the Offices of Assistance Programs for Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas; Policy and Resource Planning; and the Comptroller. Ms. Izzo Jackson began her career at the State Department as a tenured member of the U.S. Foreign Service, serving with distinction in U.S. embassies in Liberia and Sri Lanka. Ms. Izzo Jackson received her Bachelors of Science degree from Georgetown University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Nazanin Ash is the CEO of Welcome.us, created as a partnership between the Department of State and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to aid in the Afghan resettlement process. Prior to this role, she was Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), overseeing the organization’s global policy and advocacy efforts. Before joining the IRC, she was a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, where she focused on aid effectiveness and political and economic reform in the Middle East. Previously, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, leading the U.S. government’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. Her U.S. government experience also includes serving as a member of the Secretary of State’s policy-planning staff and roles as Chief of Staff to the first director of Foreign Assistance, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and White House Fellow. Nazanin also worked for ActionAid Kenya, one of the largest rights-based non-governmental organizations in Kenya. She holds an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. in political science from Bryn Mawr College.
Sher Jan Ahmadzai
Director, Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Board member, Afghan American Foundation
Sher Jan is the Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), which has been present in Afghanistan for over 45 years and has received numerous grants from the U.S. government and implemented projects in South Central Asia. Mr. Ahmadzai teaches ‘Geopolitics of Central and South Asia’ at UNO and is a regular contributor and commentator for many national and international media outlets, such as Al-Jazeera, TRT, VOA and BBC Radio and TV on various issues related to the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taliban, security, and terrorism in South-Central Asia. He has also written for CNN, BBC, Conversation, and Omaha World Herald on Afghan peace process and regional security. He has participated in many rounds of U.S-Russian Track-II talks on Afghanistan and regional security and provided feedback to policymakers. Sher Jan is a board of the board member of the Afghan American Foundation and a board member of the Afghan community organization (AICCO) in Omaha, Nebraska where he lives. He holds MPA in Public Policy and BA in International Studies form the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Founder, #AfghanEvac Coalition
Shawn VanDiver founded and leads as a volunteer the #AfghanEvac coalition, the coordinating mechanism between government and the more than 100 self-organized groups aiding Afghans with evacuation and resettlement. In his day job he assists government leaders at all levels throughout California to identify innovative solutions to long-term civic challenges. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the San Diego Convention Center in 2021, and is the founder of the San Diego Chapter of the Truman National Security Project. Additionally, he serves as Executive Director of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum’s San Diego Chapter and on the Boards of Directors for Emerge California, Veterans Community Connections, and the Downtown San Diego Partnership. He attended National University, the Naval Postgraduate School, and University of San Francisco and holds degrees and certifications related to homeland security, cybersecurity, emergency management, and public leadership. Shawn VanDiver is a Navy veteran, proud father and avid sailor.
U.S. Department of State Afghanistan Inquiries: https://www.state.gov/afghanistan-inquiries/
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration: https://www.state.gov/bureaus-offices/under-secretary-for-civilian-security-democracy-and-human-rights/bureau-of-population-refugees-and-migration/
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs: https://www.state.gov/bureaus-offices/under-secretary-for-political-affairs/bureau-of-south-and-central-asian-affairs/