Kobra Ahmadi Nader ’10
Kobra Ahmadi Nader ’10 knew she was one of very few Afghan women who could even think about attending college, much less realize those dreams. As she saw for herself the promise a good education provided, she made it a personal mission to advocate for education for Afghanistan women.
“She knew that as an educated person, she had the responsibility to spread education to the others,” said her husband, Jawed Nader. “She had a long-term vision about what she wanted to achieve in her life and how she could help others.”
Those dreams came to a tragic end in November 2012 when Kobra was killed in an automobile accident while visiting family in Iran.
“It was sad to see such a unique person perish when we are in such need of her,” Jawed said. “Both personally and socially, it was a great loss.”
Those who knew Kobra as a student at the College recall her firm desire to learn all she could, befriend all she met, and work for positive changes in Afghanistan. “She overcame any hesitation or inadequacy she might have had because she knew there was a greater good that she could do,” said Nancy Goulde, Randolph’s coordinator of international student services.
When Kobra was a child, her family fled to Iran to escape civil war. Kobra witnessed discrimination while there, but experiencing it after returning to her home country added extra motivation for her to pursue an education and work for social change.
Susan Lemly Sardina ’70 connected the College to the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW), which helped Kobra come to Randolph. Susan and her husband, Michael, often hosted Kobra on breaks from school and witnessed her keen desire to learn.
“She had an intellectual curiosity,” Susan said. “She was curious about our faith and our politics. She just wanted to learn.” “She walked with grace,” Nancy added. “We should honor her courage and determination to get an education and to help others achieve some of the opportunities she was given.” Jawed met Kobra in 2005, and they dated and corresponded for six years as she attended the College. They married in 2011, after which they enrolled in graduate school at the University of Bristol.
Kobra’s death devastated Jawed, but it also motivated him to continue working for the causes that meant so much to his wife. Today, he directs an organization that administers foreign aid to Afghanistan. Jawed and Susan coordinated with a nonprofit to open the Kobra A. Nader Computer Center in Bamian, Afghanistan, where women and girls can learn how to access online educational resources.
Other remembrances include a prize for IEAW students who return to Afghanistan, an award for international students at the University of Bristol, and a need-based scholarship at a small school in Kabul, Iran.
Jawed has been touched to see so many people want to honor and remember Kobra. “They are helping Kobra’s
dream remain alive.”