Honouring a class act in Afghanistan

An award sponsored by private equity legend Henry Kravis this year honours a woman with a particularly dangerous mission.

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the recipient of the fourth annual Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership for her work providing education and healthcare in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The award means $250,000 for Yacoobi's Afghan Institute of Learning, which among other accomplishments has been a major educator of girls in Afghanistan, a country in which the onetime Taliban rulers outlawed schooling for girls.

During this period Yacoobi and her largely female workers risked death by operating some 300 underground schools. Today girls' schools are sometimes attacked by Taliban forces.

Kravis, known to readers of PEI as a co-founder of New York leveraged buyout giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, said in a statement of Yacoobi's impact: “It is important to understand that entrepreneurial spirit and leadership are just as vital to achievement in the not-for-profit world as they are in the private sector.”

The prize is co-sponsored by Kravis Leadership Institute, part of Kravis's alma mater, Claremont McKenna College in California.