Our Founders

Julia Bolz


Founder of Sahar Education (formerly Ayni Education International), Julia, an international humanitarian lawyer and advocate, started serving in Afghanistan in January 2002, just months after 9/11. There, she fell in love with the Afghan people, especially the women and girls, and began a project called “Journey with an Afghan School”, with the vision to build bridges of understanding between the Afghan people and the American people by creating quality educational opportunities in Afghanistan that empowered and inspired children and their families to build peaceful, just, and life-affirming communities. Over 50,000 Americans supported “Journey with an Afghan School,” including school kids and private citizens, civic and religious institutions, National Geographic, Rotary, and community and family foundations.

Julia and her teams created a rare model of success where they built/repaired and equipped more than 40 schools that have now educated over 250,000 students. She also partnered with numerous local and international entities to develop effective and sustainable solutions, raise funds for humanitarian aid projects, distribute goods-in-kind, and provide expertise on development, legal, and human rights issues.

A graduate of Smith College and Northwestern University School of Law, Julia is dedicated to engaging, educating, and empowering those in low-resource settings. She is a champion of girls’ education and advocated tirelessly for the Global Partnership for Education. She served as an informal advisor to members of the White House, State Department, Congress, Military, and U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. In 2012, she was awarded the World Affairs Council (Seattle) highest award for global citizenship, which was presented by former President Jimmy Carter.

Founding Board Members

Carolyn Bolz Glah

Carolyn participated in the original creation of Sahar (formerly Ayni Education International) and served on board for many years.  Carolyn’s interest in serving Afghan girls stemmed from her sister Julia’s passion and desire to make a change in the world. Carolyn served as “Journey with an Afghan School’s” lead in the Aspen community, helping to link families and students to their sister school in Afghanistan.

Over the years, Carolyn Glah has built up an extensive career in the direct marketing and business management arenas.  She has provided leadership and direction for corporations, small businesses and not-for-profit Boards.  Carolyn was Vice President of the Direct Marketing Group for US Bank Corporation in Minneapolis and a Director of Personal Card Marketing for American Express in New York.  In these leadership positions, she created business teams, launched new programs, developed annual and strategic plans, managed complex projects and managed and trained staff. 

In 1998, Carolyn retired as a corporate marketing executive.  She traded in her pumps for running shoes to better keep up with her children.  Today, Carolyn is happily involved with her family as a family manager, partner in her family’s business and community activist.  Carolyn has served and continues serves on many boards.  Over the years Carolyn has served as Vice President of the Aspen Youth Center Board, Vice President of Sedgwick Street Fund, Co-President of the Aspen Middle School Parent Council.  She has volunteered her time within the community, especially serving Aspen High School, Aspen School District, Aspen Chapel, and Aspen Valley Ski Club.  Carolyn has also been a Eur Au Pair Community Coordinator, Eco Education board member, and Voyager Outward Bound School Trustee.

Carolyn received her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA in Psychology also from Northwestern.

Angi Proctor

Angi worked diligently to spread the message of change through educating a girl. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Angi grew up in a family with a heart for social justice. Angi was the second woman and youngest person ever elected to the Birmingham City Council, where she served two terms. Among other appointments, she also served as Chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Board that spearheaded the development of a new community school system for adult education. With her church in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, Angi has collected money and supplies to help build a school for over 1,000 girls in Afghanistan, and she has nurtured a strong relationship between her California community and Afghans.

Kathryn Linehan

Kat’s extensive background in communications was a key asset to Sahar as it crafted its message about its work. As a founding Board member, she produced videos and media pieces highlighting Sahar’s “Journey with an Afghan School.” Working to bring awareness of social justice issues to a wider audience, Kathryn orchestrated the largest festival of youth-made movies in 2000 with broadcast on HBO and Nickelodeon. She produced “Children of Afghanistan”, the short documentary that screened at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, heralded by the LA Times as, “as one of the most compelling stories of the festival.”

Michael Johnson

Mike exemplifies the work of Sahar to build bridges of understanding between Afghanistan and US communities. A founding Sahar Board member, Mike and his wife Nan started supporting “Journey with an Afghan School” in 2005. In addition to raising funds to build and supply two schools in Afghanistan, he engaged his entire community through schools, book groups, Rotary and scouts. In the fall of 2008, he traveled to Afghanistan with a team from Crested Butte to attend the dedication of a new school for 1,500 girls. Mike served on the Sahar Board from 2009-2012.

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