Banafsheh is a writer, foreign affairs scholar, and an academician. She consults for global think tanks and international organizations, and works with publishers as an editor. Recently a visiting scholar at Princeton University, and a visiting fellow at The King Faisal Center, she has taught in academia for thirteen years. Banafsheh has three decades of work experience in high-stake international diplomacy, and in policy and communications roles with the US private sector. Her past clients include top U.S. energy, financial, media and high-tech companies. Previously, she worked as a development officer with the World Bank, The Asia Foundation, the Swiss Academy for Development, and volunteered time with the United Nations and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Banafsheh is a frequent speaker in international forums, a commentator who appears on television and radio, and the author of numerous articles and scholarly publications. She was asked to serve as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and informally advised the White House. Banafsheh speaks Dari, Tajik, and Persian/Farsi, and is a European Union accredited interpreter and translator. She worked as a chief simultaneous interpreter with the European Commission, the U.S.-Iran Claims Tribunal, world leaders from the Americas, Europe, and Asia and several Nobel Laureates, and at hundreds of international events, conferences, dual track diplomatic meetings, and with the United Nations. Banafsheh has worked in over 30 countries. She received her master’s degree and PhD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, through joint coursework at The Kennedy School at Harvard University. In 2016, she was selected as a Prominent Fletcher Woman by Tufts University.