Khaled Hosseini, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Khaled hosseini


Inspired by a 2007 trip to Afghanistan as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, best-selling author Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns) created The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Since then, his foundation has raised over $500,000, constructing hundreds of shelters for Afghanis and providing homes for thousands of people returning to their country after years of displacement. As a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador , Khaled returned to Afghanistan with the UNHCR in 2009.

Learn more about the Afghan Refugee Emergency.

During his travels, he visited villages in Northern Afghanistan and spoke to refugees who have resettled there. He saw first-hand the humanitarian assistance provided by the UNHCR. His 2009 return trip reinforced for Khaled the reality that Afghans are still hopelessly dependent on the support of the international community. He hopes that the wealthy western nations will continue their rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan, and make a genuine and long-term commitment to ensuring the future of the coming generation of Afghans.


"When UNHCR asked me to work with them as a Goodwill Ambassador, I didn't think twice. As a native of Afghanistan, a country with one of the world's largest refugee populations, the refugee issue is one that is close and dear to my heart.

"My role with the UNHCR is to speak on behalf of the refugee cause and to serve as a public advocate for refugees around the world. It will be my privilege to try to capture public attention and to use my access to media to give voice to victims of humanitarian crises. I look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with UNHCR."

— Khaled Hosseini


About the Khaled Hosseini Foundation:

The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. The Foundation supports UNHCR projects which provide shelter to refugee families and economic and education opportunities and healthcare for women and children. In addition, the Foundation awards scholarships to students who have migrated to the United States under refugee status and to women pursuing higher education in Afghanistan.

About Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat with the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and History in high school in Kabul. In 1976, the Afghan Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then Afghanistan had already witnessed a bloody communist coup and an invasion by the Soviet army.

The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States. In September of 1980, the Hosseini family moved to San Jose, California. Khaled graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California at San Diego's School of Medicine, where he earned a Medical Degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Khaled was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.

Khaled Hosseini, UNHCR Goodwill Envoy

Khaled Hosseini, UNHCR Goodwill Envoy. © UNHCR

While practicing medicine, Khaled began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, in March of 2001. In 2003, The Kite Runner was published and has since become an international bestseller, published in 70 countries. In 2006, he was named a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was published in May of 2007 and has been published in 60 countries.

Khaled has been working to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan through The Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for The Khaled Hosseini Foundation was inspired by a trip to Afghanistan Khaled made in 2007 with the UNHCR. Khaled returned to Afghanistan with the UNHCR in 2009. He lives in Northern California.