Sophia Swire

The organization was founded in 2012 by Sophia Swire, a British national, whose experience in the Middle East and Asia dates back to 1990’s, when she established rural schools for girls in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India through her first non-profit, Learning for Life. An award-winning, serial social entrepreneur and ESG expert, Swire started her career in investment at an asset management company followed by Kleinwort Benson, then the UK’s largest investment bank. She has spent 30 years harnessing the expertise of the private sector to drive education, skills’ development, and sustainable economic growth in conflict zones. She has trailblazing private sector expertise in developing handicraft industries in emerging markets. In 1990, she founded the first social impact fashion brand, Sophia Swire London, and launched the global fashion for pashminas, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, increasing the GDP of Nepal. In 2008, Swire began collaborating with the Turquoise Mountain Foundation to upgrade the Afghan jewelry sector. She went on to work as the Senior Advisor on Gemstone and Jewelry sector development to USAID-ASMED, the Aga Khan Foundation, the World Bank, DFID-ASI and GIZ. In 2012, funded by the US Department of Defense (Task Force for Business Stability Operations), she founded Future Brilliance Afghanistan Organisation (FBAO), to further modernize the Afghan gemstone and jewelry sector, and to introduce digital skills to the Afghan workforce. Swire led the Future Brilliance Task Force rescue effort for vulnerable Afghan women including Sharbat Gula, “the green-eyed Afghan girl,” whom she evacuated to Italy with the help of the Italian Foreign Office. At COP26 in Glasgow, in November 2021, she launched Gender Equity Diversity Investment (GEDI) a venture capital investment firm, targeting top quartile financial returns and positive impact at the nexus of gender and climate, education and health. She remains a board member of Future Brilliance Afghanistan and a trustee of Future Brilliance US and Future Brilliance UK.