2021 Tillman Scholar

Junaid Lughmani

University of California - Berkeley

“Poverty and terrorism are inextricably linked, though entrepreneurship and innovation can help these societies achieve political and economic freedom.”

Junaid is a first generation American from the Bronx whose parents emigrated from the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. In his sophomore year of high school, 9/11 happened, and years later he would be involved in the war between his birth country and ancestral homeland. When Junaid graduated from college, he volunteered to become a civilian Pashto interpreter for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. He spent three years embedded with U.S. troops and intelligence officials, serving as a liaison between the U.S. and Afghan governments, conducting interrogations and intelligence gathering of interned Taliban and al-Qaeda enemy combatants.

After returning home, inspired by his military colleagues, he joined the Army. Junaid was commissioned as a Lieutenant and served as an infantry rifle platoon leader, deploying to Afghanistan, where he led his platoon during multiple combat missions. Throughout his career, Junaid has been uniquely positioned to provide U.S. military personnel with guidance on the intricacies of Afghan and Islamic culture, helping to bridge the intellectual and cultural gap and strengthening relationships between the American and Afghan people.

In 2018, after four years of military service, Junaid joined a group of entrepreneurs to form a veteran owned broker dealer. On Wall Street, Junaid recognized the role blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can play to create prosperity, and thus decided to pursue an MBA. Junaid will attend Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, after which he plans to continue his life’s work serving as a link between cultures while working to redesign the global financial system.