Director at Large

Former Senior Advisor at the US Agency for International Development


As a cultural anthropologist, Afeefa has worked for nearly 30 years with development agencies, government offices, various international and non-profits within areas of religious engagement, social entrepreneurship, youth and women participation and leadership, civic engagement, and good governance. Afeefa created and implemented capacity building programs for policy and development professionals, educators, and civil society representatives in faith and identity, marginalized youth, advocacy on women’s rights in religious contexts, and on cultural diversity, multiculturalism, and interfaith cooperation.

Afeefa advised the White House, NSC, Dept. of State, UN Democracy Fund, World Bank and various in-country government and non-governmental institutions on the same issues for communities in Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East and North Africa. She also founded a model independent school whose core vision includes peace education, service-in-action, and place-based learning. The school has been an incubator for innovative practices in integrated learning and teaching including creating a curriculum to teach religious studies in a holistic manner.

Vision Statement:

International efforts in development and peace must be rooted in acknowledging, understanding, and representing a given people’s own definitions and parameters of these in their lives. Organizations such as the United Nations are uniquely placed to be responsive to this people-centered model that considers dynamic cultural contexts and identity. My hope is to proactively advocate for a more holistic and authentic approach to meet development challenges through the UN’s global efforts and aid in building the capacity of policy and programming professional to include this approach in their work.

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