PhD Student Tarek Ghani Receives Soros Fellowship

First-year Haas School PhD student Tarek Ghani was among 30 students from around the country to be selected to receive a Soros New American Fellowship.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans specifically recognize the contributions and promise of young people who are recent additions to the ranks of Americans. The two-year graduate school awards provide cash grants of up to $50,000 and tuition support of up to $40,000.

Ghani, a PhD student in the Haas School's Business and Public Policy Group, was chosen from a pool of 890 applicants from 297 undergraduate and 140 graduate institutions.

Ghani was born in the United States to parents who met and married in Lebanon before attending graduate school at Columbia University. His mother was from Lebanon and his father from Afghanistan.

As an undergraduate at Stanford, Ghani took a year off to serve as special assistant to his father, who had returned to Afghanistan after 9/11 and the defeat of the Taliban to serve as the country’s finance minister. After returning to Stanford, Ghani's experience in Afghanistan with crime, conflict, and corruption and the challenges of building state institutions became his senior thesis subject.

Ghani served as student representative on the finance committee of the university’s board of trustees, was commencement speaker for his class, and won a Truman Scholarship. He graduated in 2004 with a BS in symbolic systems (i.e. cognitive science), with honors in international security studies.

After graduation, Ghani oversaw a $15 million grant budget designed to promote transparency and accountability in Liberia’s government program for the philanthropic organization Humanity United.

Ghani says he has chosen to earn his PhD at the Haas School because he believes its faculty is particularly attuned to analyzing the economic and political challenges posed by a new era of globalization and thus best suited to support his ongoing global research relating to crime, conflict, and corruption.