November 11, 2019
HAMED WARDAK: A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
The meaning of this title from a play about Sir Thomas Moore has evolved over the years to now describe a person who’s ready to calmly deal with just about every situation imaginable.
That title is indeed fitting for Harmed Wardak who was born in Afghanistan two years before the Soviet Union invaded the country in December 1979 , the son of General Abdul Rahim Wardak. His father fought the Russians in the 1980’s during the Soviet occupation and was later named the country’s Defense Minister in 2004.
Though just 42 years of age, Harmed Wardak has accomplished enough to last several lifetimes according to an interview by digital marketing firm ContentHow. Wardak was one of more than 6 million refugees who fled Afghanistan during the war.
Wardak came to the U.S. as a young man, became a U.S. citizen, and graduated from Georgetown University in 1997 where he was class valedictorian. He earned a degree in government and political theory and was also named a Rhodes scholar.
Since graduating, Wardak successfully managed mergers and acquisitions for Merrill Lynch, started up his own apparel firm called Ludas Athletics, and formed a musical production company, Valen of Wicked. In an interview with ideamensch, a business-related interview platform, Wardak said “wicked” in the name comes from all the good and bad he experienced in his past, but more importantly, the sound he’s creating.
Hamad Wardak: Story and Legacy
But clearly the primary focus much of Wardak’s adult life has been his homeland, Afghanistan. After graduating from Georgetown, Wardak returned home to help rebuild the country. As Managing Director for International Operations for Technologists, a contractor working with the U.S. Department of Defense and the United States Agency for International Development, he was credited for bringing in $44 million in design and build contracts that aided Afghanistan.
After going around the country and talking to village elders and leaders, Wardak felt a need for a more democratic government in the country. In response, he started a new political movement called Fadayeen-e-Sul or Sacrificers for Peace in 2007. The aim of the drive was to counter the influence of the Taliban and al Qaeda in some areas of the country.
Wardak also gave talks in the U.S. about the absence of political movements in Afghanistan except for the Communist party and loose affiliations between a few militia leaders. He was supported by Marvin Weinbaum from the Middle East Institute and an expert on Afghanistan who agreed that the absence of any political organization has hurt the country’s ability to accomplish things.
At the same time, Wardak also became co-founder of the Campaign for a U.S – Afghanistan Partnership (CUSAP). As a nonprofit, founded in 2009 CUSAP’s goals was to “achieve sustainable security and prosperity in Afghanistan.”
One of the organization’s first projects was a $1.7 million capital campaign to rebuild bridges and canals in Laghman province. The project also included funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Bank, and the Provisional Reconstruction Team.
As noted novelist Dara Horn once said, “Every person has a legacy. You may not know what your impact is, and it may not be something that you can write on your tombstone, but every person has an impact on this world.”