As director of the South Asia Division, Akbar Ayazi oversees the daily broadcasts of eight language services in radio, television and the web.
He immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 after the Russian invasion of his native country, Afghanistan, where he had made some first attempts in broadcasting as a student in Kabul University. He joined VOA on December 22, 1982 to work as a broadcaster. In 1999, Akbar Ayazi became executive producer of Voice of America’s Near East and South Asia division and in 2002, he was promoted to chief of the Pashto service, a position he held until 2005. The same year, he moved to Prague to take the position of Afghan service director at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Five years later, he was promoted to regional director overseeing broadcasts to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq.
In 2015, Mr Ayazi returned to VOA as South Asia Division director. Among his goals in this position is to make sure that “the news and information we provide has impact and makes a difference in the lives of our listeners. We should not only provide news to audiences in our part of the world, but educate them about the values of freedom and democracy.” One of his most recent projects is the creation of an Extremism Watch Desk in his division to compile information regarding violent extremism around the world and turn it into credible multimedia stories in English. The collected information will be distributed throughout the agency and other sister entities of the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
Akbar Ayazi is a graduate of Kabul University and Nehru University in New Delhi, India, where he studied management. He is fluent in Dari and Pashto. He also speaks Urdu.