Lotfullah Najafizada (Class of 2012)
Lotfullah Najafizada is an award-winning journalist from Afghanistan and the former Director of TOLO news TV, leading Afghanistan’s top news channel for over a decade until the fall of Kabul last August. In addition to overseeing the largest news operation in the country, he also conducted many high-profile interviews with global leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, NATO Secretaries General Jen Stoltenberg and Andres Fogh Rasmussen, US NSA Gen HR McMaster and Senator John McCain. He also hosted Afghanistan’s only presidential elections debate in 2019. On World Press Freedom Day 2016, Paris-based Reporters without Borders awarded him with the prestigious medal of Press Freedom Hero for his fight for free press in Afghanistan.
In 2016, TIME Magazine profiled him as a Next Generation Global Leader and in 2017 Forbes magazine selected him among the 30 under 30 Asia influencers in media. Mr. Najafizada was the only Afghan journalist who attended two rounds of civil society talks with the Taliban in Doha (2019) and in Oslo (2022). He is currently a Pritzker Fellow at the Institute of Politics, University of Chicago, offering seminars on Afghanistan’s politics and culture as a visiting scholar. He is a former fellow with the Asia Society, Rumsfeld Foundation, the Atlantic Council and World Press Institute.