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Retiring Lewis & Clark professor heads to Afghanistan

Zaher Wahab will continue educating teachersby: SUBMITTED PHOTO: LEWIS & CLARK COLLEGE - Longtime education professor Zaher Wahab plans to teach in Afghanistan after retiring from his job at Lewis & Clark Colleges Graduate School of Education and Counseling.


Lewis & Clark College education professor Zaher Wahab, known to many for his lessons in social justice, equity and the power of education to improve people’s lives, has retired from the Southwest Portland school after teaching there for 40 years.

His plan now: to return to his native Afghanistan, where he has spent part of each year for the past decade. During his time abroad, he has served as a senior adviser to the Ministry of Higher Education, taught future educators and worked on the nation’s literacy efforts.

Wahab will continue working in teacher education there. In addition, he’ll be involved in developing a new program educating civil servants. As a more personal project, he said, he plans to develop a rural educators program to improve access to education in rural communities.

“I am going to help and work every minute I can,” Wahab told students, colleagues and friends who gathered at the college Aug. 6 to say goodbye.

While he plans to keep his Southwest Portland home, he’ll now live full-time in Afghanistan. He left the United States last week.

According to Lewis & Clark College, Wahab was born and schooled in Afghanistan before studying at the American University in Beirut, where he received a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He has a master’s degree in comparative education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a master’s in anthropology and a Ph.D. in international development education from Stanford University. He is the only Afghan with a Ph.D. from Stanford to date, according to his faculty profile.