Founder & Chairman: Azizjon Azimi
Azizjon Azimi is the founder and chairman of TajRupt. A Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University, he is a concurrent-degree Master's in Business Administration candidate at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Master’s in Public Policy candidate at Harvard Kennedy School. He was recognized by Forbes in the 2018 "30 Under 30" Asia list in social entrepreneurs category for his work on founding TajRupt.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) degree from New York University with high honors in economics and honors in international relations, having been the youngest degree candidate of the Class of 2016. It was during his time at NYU that he came to value the essence of critical thinking skills that systemically lack in Tajikistan's educational landscape through extracurricular activities and academic studies. He served as president of NYU Model United Nations - the largest student organization on campus - and was appointed to the all-university Student Activities Board. He was also named a Holten Family Research Scholar at NYU and spent a summer abroad studying in Dubai, UAE. Upon graduation, he worked at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and at Simon-Kucher & Partners in New York.
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Executive Director: Gulnora Gafurova
Gulnora Gafurova is the Executive Director of TajRupt. She graduated from Tajik State University with a degree in economics in 2002 and worked as a marketing analyst at a consulting firm upon graduation. She continued her academic studies in the United States and obtained a Master of Science degree (summa cum laude) from St. John’s University in New York in 2010. After returning from the US, she worked at Atlasi Khujand LLC - Tajikistan's sole manufacturer of atlas and adras national silk textiles.
She served as Senior Lecturer at Tajik State University of Commerce where she taught management. Having been promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer at Atlasi Khujand in 2013, she oversaw and directed daily operations of a 50-person enterprise, coordinating administrative activities across multiple departments. She now serves as Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Khujand State University where she teaches English language instruction in the Department of Foreign Languages, along with working on her doctoral thesis examining contrastive linguistics across Tajik, Russian, and English languages.
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Project Coordinator: Zarrina Sultonova
Zarrina Sultonova graduated from Khujand State University in 2009 majoring in English language, and attended Aga Khan Humanity courses in Central Asia. She has since worked at non-governmental educational institutions, including private schools and language centers, where she has focused on youth development through debates, discussions, and psychology courses in English language. In 2017, she was selected for the prestigious English Teaching Mentorship Program run by the Embassy of the United States in Tajikistan, completing the program as the only representative from Khujand. At TajRupt’s ERC, she has previously taught gender equality as part of HerStory, as well as upper-intermediate level of English. She is currently overseeing the operations of TajRupt’s Extracurricular Resource Center (ERC) in Khujand.
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Director of Strategy & Finance: Stephen Caputo
Stephen Caputo is an equity research associate at the Bank of Montreal (BMO) Research in New York. Previously, he worked as equity research associate at Susquehenna International Group (SIG), and at Barclays Investment Bank in New York covering consumer financial, software, and consumer retail companies. He had also founded Outer Advertising - a startup that focused on solutions for ride-sharing drivers. Stephen completed his undergraduate studies at New York University, majoring in Economics. His long-standing interest in foreign policy began in his elementary school geography class and led to his role as a leader in NYU Model United Nations, a student-run organization where he served as President in his senior year of college. In addition, he was part of a number of leadership tasks at NYU including serving on the Student Activities Board and the All-Square Student Budget Allocation Committee, as well as managing the investment portfolio of the prestigious NYU Stern Investment Analysis Group.
Board Member: Areesha Irfan
Areesha Irfan is an undergraduate student at New York University pursuing a double major in political science and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. She has devoted much of her life to fighting for gender equality and social justice both in the United States and abroad, with her work experience having revolved around the sphere of jurisprudence. She has previously worked as a legal intern and clerk at law firms and institutions including Scott B. Franklin & Associates, Hartford Healthcare, Pardalis & Nohavicka LLP, and Sussman & Frankel LLP. She has also been featured in the “In Support of He for She” film as part of a United Nations gender equality initiative.
Having family roots in Pakistan – a nation with substantial gender and socioeconomic divides – has fueled her passion for educational programs in developing countries. She hopes to live abroad after graduation, furthering equality around the world. Fluent in four languages, she has travelled across developing nations such as Paraguay and witnessed first-hand the powerful impact that educational reform can have on communities.
Board Member: Gulnoza Mansur
Gulnoza Mansur is a deals consultant at PwC in Dubai and a graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi with a major in public policy. Throughout her undergraduate career, she had studied abroad at Sorbonne Paris Cité, NYU Paris, NYU Sydney, NYU Accra, and at the NYU Stern School of Business in New York. Gulnoza wrote her senior thesis on investment decision-making in renewable energy technologies by Emiratis in the United Arab Emirates.
In addition to environmental sustainability, Gulnoza is passionate about issues of human rights and public health. She was part of a student-led project that successfully pitched a three-year pilot program called “Filoxenia” at the Greek Parliament to address the needs of 500 Syrian refugee families for housing and integration in Greece. Gulnoza was also on a public health mission to Ethiopia where she observed public, private, and non-profit hospitals in Addis Ababa and recorded positive impact of NGOs for the underprivileged, as well as HIV-AIDS and leprosy infected people.
Prior to attending NYU, Gulnoza worked at the American Councils as a coordinator of the “Future Leaders of Exchange” (FLEX) program in Kazakhstan. She was leading community service initiatives including organizing the largest charity marathon in the capital city of Astana. She was nominated to represent Kazakhstani youth at the United Nations Global Forum in Vienna where she addressed restrictions on media freedom in Kazakhstan.