Clare Lockhart

Dec 3, 2009
Outside Magazine
Clare Lockhart

Age: 36
Organization: The Institute for State Effectiveness
Lockhart's inspiration came in 2002, when the guns had fallen silent--briefly---around Kabul and she was standing amid the rubble. "There was no guidebook on how to rebuild a country," says Lockhart, who was part of a team setting up the new Afghanistan government. So the New York-based London native wrote one. First she co-founded the nonprofit Institute for State Effectiveness, in 2005; three years later, she published Fixing Failed States, which outlines how citizens from war-torn countries can organize their societies, economics, and politics. "I wanted to enable the people to empower themselves," she says. By the time she was 30, Lockhart had visited as many countries, earned a history degree from Oxford and a master's from Harvard's Kennedy School, and practiced law in London. Now she's provided more than $800 million in grants to 23,000 villages in Afghanistan through her National Solidarity Program, and she spent the better half of the past three years traveling on foot, horse, jeep, or helicopter to many provinces in Afghan­i­stan. "The people are rebuilding schools, medical clinics, and government facilities in their vision of the country," she says. Lockhart emphasizes that you don't have to work abroad to create positive change. "Volunteer locally," she says. "The closeness of that interaction makes the feedback immediate."

Filed To: Politics, Afghanistan

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