Asfar CIC is an NGO which aspires to make a difference in our society, through providing opportunities for the next generation of young people and young adults both in the UK, the Middle East and the rest of the world through: educational, skills and development programmes, cultural exchanges and by supporting fellow NGOs, charities, educational and voluntary organisations to develop, ensuring their sustainability in an ever difficult sector.



Mission Statement

Asfar’s organisational aims are:

  • To support young people, provide them with new skills and life experiences;
  • To develop and capacity build fellow NGOs, charities and community organisations to assist them to make a difference;
  • To encourage UK-based young people to connect with fellow young people throughout the world;
  • To inspire young people to learn about different cultures, societies and travel;
  • To motivate young people to develop new language skills through informal learning;
  • To create dynamic international partnerships between the UK, Europe and the Middle East, in order to promote inter-cultural understanding, social action and end community xenophobia, conflict and racism through our educational projects;
  • To support Middle Eastern communities to develop, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds through our small grants.


Asfar’s e-Journal aims are:

  • To inspire passion for the Middle East amongst future writers, academics and general readers and introduce readers to new thinkers, writers and photographers/artists;
  • To develop greater understanding of the Middle East’s history, culture and politics through lively debate;
  • To create a platform for the next generation of writers, photographers and artists;
  • To produce an e-Journal exploring the world of the Middle East from a fresh, new angle;
  • To provide advice, guidance, information and opportunities to new writers, thinkers and photographers.


Asfar was established in January 2012 by Sheniz Tan to address the erosion of cultural studies at universities and HEIs, and to support the continued study of a wide range of subjects outside of the realms of economics, politics, and international studies. Asfar was also founded to support young people and young adults, especially those specialising in the region, to provide careers guidance, advice and opportunities, post-qualifications and university life.

Asfar started life as a volunteer-based project and launched its first Middle Eastern-themed e-Journal in December 2012. Between 2012 and 2014, Asfar worked with over 50 volunteers, primarily young people, students and recent graduates with an interest in the Middle East.


Asfar’s timeline:

  • January 2012 – Asfar’s e-Journal concept is founded.
  • April 2012 – Volunteers recruited as Editors and start working with Contributors.
  • December 2012 – First e-Journal launched.
  • January 2013 – Asfar receives funding from the British Council to deliver a Youth in Action programme entitled the Asfar University programme in Higher Education Institutes, universities and youth centres to promote Employability Skills, Citizenship, Inter-cultural awareness, Volunteering and Social Action.
  • October 2013 – Asfar starts to offer value for money Development Consultancy services to fellow NGOs, charities, HEIs, training providers and Sport for Development organisations.
  • November 2013 – Asfar becomes a legal Community Interest Company status.
  • Between July 2013 and March 2014 – Asfar starts to connect with fellow NGOs throughout the Middle East, Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus, in order to develop new partnerships and collaborative ways of working.
  • April 2014 – Asfar finishes its delivery of the Asfar University programme. The projects supports over 32 young people, 10 of which moved into employment, education or training. All gain their EU Youthpass recognising their achievements.
  • July 2014 – Asfar is recognised as an official Erasmus+ provider by the British Council and Ecorys UK and starts implementing 3 Middle Eastern-based Transnational programmes.
  • December 2014 – Asfar re-launches its e-Journal to be more interactive and a mobile platform for Contributors.
  • January 2015 – Asfar’s international programmes go live.