Banafsheh is a geopolitical, communications and development consultant. She has advised the US private sector in the energy and media fields from 2009 to 2017, and shared her expertise with the White House from 2010 to 2013.
Recently a visiting scholar at Princeton University, she was also a visiting fellow at the King Faisal Center for Islamic Studies and Research, Saudi Arabia, in 2011.
A university assistant and adjunct professor for thirteen years, her most recent book is Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016; Arabic - Dar AlSaqi, 2016; scheduled for release in Persian in 2017).
A speaker in international forums and the author of scholarly publications and journalistic articles, she also currently offers consulting services as a communications strategist and educator in Silicon Valley and at Bay Area schools.
Previously, Banafsheh worked as a development officer at the World Bank and the Asia Foundation covering the North Africa region and Afghanistan. She volunteered time to the United Nations Political Department in New York and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, and advised a host of international non governmental organizations on women's rights, human rights, refugee resettlement, and environmental advocacy.
Banafsheh has worked as a content writer, commentator and simultaneous interpreter with major news outlets including with NPR, CNN, NBC, Fox, and Public Television, and with The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and The Seattle Tribune, and is a skilled English to Persian/Farsi and Tajik/Dari translator. She is the translator of a book for the United Nations titled Refugee Law in Iran authored by Peace Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi (Dar AlSaqi, 2008), and the editor of the book titled Five Treasures of Ferdowsi (Iranian Calligraphy Society, 1998).
Banafsheh received her BA and MA in Applied Linguistics, and a Master’s and PhD in International Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University. She lives in San Francisco.