Ambassador, anthropologist and author
Akbar S. Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C.
Born in Allahabad, a small town on the Ganges River in what was then British India, Mr. Ahmed is a distinguished anthropologist, writer and filmmaker. He has been actively involved in encouraging interfaith dialogue, and his work to bring understanding between Islam and the West has included three appearances on Oprah and a BBC news series called “Living Islam.”
Mr. Ahmed first became interested in Muslim leadership and its impact on Muslim society in the 1980s, when he was Pakistani Commissioner in Baluchistan. The study of global Islam and its impact on contemporary society has been the major focus of his work since.
From 1999 to 2000, Mr. Ahmed was the Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He has also held many other senior positions in Pakistan.
Mr. Ahmed recently launched the “Journey into Europe” research project, which will be published as a book titled “Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Empire” by Brookings Institution Press.
In addition, Journey into Europe will result in a documentary film based upon the fieldwork, as was done previously for the Journey into America project. The critically acclaimed documentary film Journey into America (2009), directed by Craig Considine and produced by Mr. Ahmed, has been shown at film festivals around the world.
His many award-winning books include: The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings, 2013), Journey into Islam: the Crisis of Globalization (Brookings, 2008), Islam Under Siege: Living Dangerously in a Post-Honor World (Polity, 2003), Postmodernism and Islam: Predicament and Promise (Routledge, 2004), Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World (Tauris, 1999) and Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin (Routledge, 1997).
Mr. Ahmed is a member of The Globalist’s Advisory Board.