Ahmad Shah Mohibi is founder and president of Rise to Peace. He brings more than 12 years’ experience working with the United States and Afghan governments alongside the international community to help in a concerted mission–to combat terrorism and encourage democracy and stability in tumultuous regions.
Ahmad was born in 1989 in Afghanistan in the midst of civil war, the same year the world was positively affected by the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Ahmad learned at an early age the value of difficult work for stability and happiness for loved ones and his country. His infancy and childhood were marked by violence and memories of anarchy. As a child, he breathed gunpowder instead of clean air. As a youngster, he went to school with fears, knowing he could not relax for a moment and take the simplest gesture for granted. As a young adult, he experienced murder, suicide attacks, corruption, and devastation. His inspiration to found Rise to Peace (R2P) was born out of his desire to bring about positive change in devastated areas. His hope is for stability and peace so children of future generations have a childhood without such horrific traumas.
Ahmad and his family were forced to move and live in different villages, observing the severity of terrorism at its worst as it targeted vulnerable children recruited by the Taliban. His family is targeted, injured, with some family members killed by the Taliban. He believes that the best way to address current extremism and terrorism is to invest in youth and support local governments. Because he is a child of Afghanistan, Ahmad feels fortunate and grateful to live and learn in the United States and despite being geographically removed from the turmoil of his birthplace, the scourge of terrorism continues to shape his life here. He has learned how terrorism is one of the most dangerous experiences in life and how fragile life is for all when there is terrorism anywhere. He is aware that the primary goal of terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaida, Taliban, Boko-Haram, ISIS, etc., is to kill and harm innocent citizens with the objective of causing fear and panic for their gain of a political objective, such as “withdrawing troops from the Middle East” or removing an American Consulate from their homeland.
He is hopeful that his efforts and those of Rise to Peace will inspire the international community and policymakers to create a strategic solution to end terrorism. He is keenly aware that ignorance is the real enemy to freedom and believes that fostering programs in places such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq where insurgent groups prey on the poor and uneducated to recruit their foot-soldiers and suicide bombers, will promote defeat of the ideology of terror and fear. He believes that schools and jobs are the true keys to winning the war on terror; not guns, bombs, political manipulation for greed, nor body counts.
He has worked with senior officials, including Peter MacKay*, the Defence Minister of Canada and Stanley McChrystal**, US Commanding General in Afghanistan and other high-ranking military and non-military dignitaries. Ahmad met with President Barack Obama on July 21, 2016 as part of a display of gratitude for Ahmad’s faithful services to the United States government. Ahmad’s humanitarian work was recognized by Former President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan who also personally met with Ahmad to express gratitude for Ahmad’s ways of helping, educating, and re-educating youth to build a united and peaceful nation. Ahmad started working with the US Army at his age of 15, building relationships between nations in both Afghanistan and the US. Ahmad is fluent in five languages and is a recent graduate of George Mason University with his B.A. in Government and International Politics. He is currently pursuing his masters of International Policy and Practice at George Washington University.
In his own words, Ahmad recalls, “The name Rise to Peace (R2P) came to me as I was climbing a high and scary mountain in Mongolia in August 2016. The peacefulness of that climb changed as I came under the threat of attack from four, large Mongolian Eagles. I told myself, ‘I’m rising to peace.’ It has become the name and mission of this nonprofit organization dedicated to working toward the end of terrorism. I will always have with me the kindness I learned from my dad and the love from my mom.”