Mr. Zia completed his masters from the University of York in Post War Recovery Studies in 2000 and has 35 years of experience. His experience relates to peacebuilding, governance, rural development and post-conflict reconstruction. As a researcher, he is equipped with in-depth knowledge of development theory and policymaking. Additional to his impressive career, Ehsan Zia is knowledgeable in many languages, those being: English, Dari, Pashto, Urdu and Turkish.
As Country Director of United States Institute of Peace in Afghanistan Mr. Zia is engaged in bottom-up and top-down peacebuilding in support of the ongoing Intra Afghan Peace Negotiations. As a former Minister at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, he provided strategic guidance and oversight to high-performing governmental institution with thousands of staff and $500 million plus annual budget portfolio. Minister Zia is a pioneer of peacebuilding, conflict resolution and a `do no harm` approach in Afghanistan. He co-founded and served as chairperson for the Cooperation for Peace and Unity (CPAU) through which he developed local capacities for peace, supported peace education and developed the capacities of development organizations on the analytical framework of 'do no harm'. He has authored several articles and papers on peacebuilding. He was awarded by the President of Colombia for "innovation in international development practice" regarding the design and implementation of the National Solidarity Program. He was also recognized by Citizens Councils and Provincial Shuras of several provinces in Afghanistan for high performance.