Postwar Afghanistan is fragile, volatile, and perilous. It is also a place of extraordinary beauty. Evolutionary Biologist Dr. Alex Dehgan arrived in the country in 2006 to build the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Afghanistan Program, and preserve and protect Afghanistan’s unique and extraordinary environment, which had been decimated after decades of war.
The efforts of Dehgan, a former diplomat working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, were central to the creation of the first Afghanistan National Park Program. In his book, The Snow Leopard Project: And Other Adventures in Warzone Conservation, Dehgan takes readers through some of the most dangerous places in postwar Afghanistan as he and his team work to establish the country’s first national park, complete some of the first extensive wildlife surveys in 30 years, and act to stop the poaching of the country’s iconic endangered animals, including the snow leopard.
Dehgan reflects on innovative approaches to advancing the environment and security in some of the most politically and ecologically fragile places in the world, while exploring connections between conservation and political stability.
BIO: Dr. Alex Dehgan
Alex Dehgan is the CEO and co-founder of Conservation X Labs. Dr. Dehgan recently served as the Chief Scientist at USAID, with rank of Assistant Administrator, and co-founded the Global Development Lab. He is also the Chanler Innovator at Duke University and served as Duke’s inaugural David Rubenstein Fellow.
Prior to USAID, Alex worked in multiple positions within the Office of the Secretary, and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, at the Dept. of State, where he used science & conservation as a diplomatic tool for engagement with countries in the Islamic world, including Iran. As head of the Wildlife Conservation Society Afghanistan Program, Alex helped create Afghanistan’s first national park. Dr. Dehgan holds a Ph.D and M.Sc. from The University of Chicago’s Committee on Evolutionary Biology, where he focused on understanding and predicting extinction in animals with complex behaviors. Alex also holds a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings, and a B.S. from Duke University.