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We Have Collected
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Co-Chair of the South Asian American Caucus and Mercer County Director of the Muslim Caucus for the NJ Democratic State Committee is a proud Pakistani American who migrated to the United States in the late 1990s. She has a long record of public service and was elected to the Board of Education for Princeton Public Schools where she was an advocate for equity and worked to address bullying issues in the district. She was also appointed to the Princeton Human Services Commission and later to the Princeton Civil Rights Commission (CRC) where she worked to empower community members and to create a more inclusive Princeton.
In her professional capacity, Afsheen is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at Rutgers University. Under Afsheen’s leadership, Rutgers GSE has become nationally recognized for its excellence in communications and has won several prestigious awards for many projects that she has led. She currently serves on the board of the ACLU-NJ and is a former board member of Not In Our Town in Princeton.
She is elected as County Committeewoman to the Mercer County Democratic Committee and also serves on the Executive Board of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization. She holds an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and a B.A. in International Studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. Ahmed’s career has included distinguished posts in both academia and public service. Highlights from the past four decades of Ahmed’s academic career include appointments such as: Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; the First Distinguished Chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; the Iqbal Fellow (Chair of Pakistan Studies) and Fellow of Selwyn College at the University of Cambridge; and teaching positions at Harvard and Princeton Universities. Ahmed dedicated more than three decades to the Civil Service of Pakistan, the senior-most cadre of the Central Superior Services of Pakistan, where his posts included Commissioner in Balochistan, Political Agent in the Tribal Areas, including Waziristan, and Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland. Ahmed’s expertise has earned high praise around the world. The BBC called him, “The world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam,” and the Saudi Gazette lauded him as, “Perhaps the most influential living authority on contemporary Muslim societies.” Ahmed’s critically acclaimed projects include academic books, documentaries, plays, poetry, a feature film, and a comic book.
Presentation by Swat Relief Initiative Founder and President, Zebu Jilani
President, Swat Relief Initiative
Zebu Jilani is President and founder of Swat Relief Initiative. Swat Relief Initiative strives to improve the lives of women and children in Pakistan through healthcare, education, economic empowerment and a sustainable environment.
Zebu Jilani’s educational background is in dietetics, preventive medicine, acupressure and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has created a comprehensive health and nutrition seminar to help women and children in rural Swat take concrete steps to improve their health and prevent disease.
Zebu is the granddaughter of the last Wali (Ruler) of Swat, who is renowned as a pioneer in rural development in Pakistan. The Wali established hundreds of schools, hospitals and clinics as well as modern roads and communication systems in Swat.
Zebu Jilani has been a guest speaker at American University in Washington DC, The Gender and Education Symposium sponsored by CIES Montreal, the 2016 Rotary International Assembly in San Diego and The American Psychiatric Association annual meeting. She has attended the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue with Hillary Clinton (US Secretary of State) and Eric P. Schwartz (US Assistant Secretary of State for Refugees).
DR. AMBREEN NAVEED HAQ
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Dr Haq is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with a Master’s degree in Public health. Dr Ambreen has been associated with Swat Relief Initiative for 07 years; She has been working as a volunteer in various capacities. She is involved in training lady health care workers in Swat. She provides regular liaison of various SRI dependents with quality and affordable health care in tertiary care centres of Islamabad. In addition, she also provides onsite and tele health consultation services to recipient population.
Barbara Rabia O’Loren
Barbara Rabia O’Loren, has a degree in Social work from the State University in Arcata, California. She is fascinated by Pakistan, and has travelled there 7 times between 2004 and 2012. In 2006 she started a nonprofit called the Roshni Centre for women, in the Swat Valley. She met Zebu Jilani in 2011, and the two spoke about their work and found that their missions were very similar, and for this reason they collaborated and began working together. Rabia dissolved The Roshni Centre for Women in 2019, because she felt that working directly as an SRI volunteer would be more effective. Rabia represents SRI on the west coast in Northern California. It has been her mission to connect east and west through relationships, (pen-pals) sharing of the arts, and various fundraising efforts.
Mariam Sarim & Sarim Sheikh
Mariam Sarim is a Board Member of SRI. Her Husband, Sarim Sheikh is a friend of SRI. Both have worked closely to support SRI initiatives, especially in the area of education. In 2019 Sarim completed the Paris Marathon in honor of his friend Arshad Jilani, and raised a substantial amount of money for SRI’s education programs.
Durdana Ansari is an OBE Honorary Commander and instructor on diversity and inclusion for British Ethnic communities Royal Navy. She is a former broadcaster and producer of BBC World, Urdu and English Service for 22 years. Durdana is SRI’s Brand Ambassador.
Special Appearance by Gul-e-Rana
Gul-e-Rana is a Pakistani actress and politician active in television industry since decades. She is the mother of musician Asim Azhar. She later joined politics and contested in General Elections 2018.
Farzana Haqqi is basically an educator for the past 2 decades. Ever since she was a child she has had passion for music too. Throughout her school and college time she entertained her school and college folks and took part in music competitions on a national level. When she moved to the USA her passion grew into a professional career. She’s holds musical shows from state to state and has been entertaining music lovers for a very long time.
Media: OILS AND MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS
Size: 3FT X 3FT
The journey between U.S.A and U.K. Christopher Reeves, a hero on screen as ‘Superman’ and off-screen as the man on wheelchair, with countless humanitarian messages. Meghan Markle as ‘Lois’ and in reality, a mixed race American, married a royal with racism issues. The love is not always enough to survive.
Media: OILS AND MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS
Size: 5.5FT X 4.5FT
A love story of Mughal-e-Azam in modern era. Shahrukh Khan as ‘Prince Saleem’ and self portrait of Amina Art Ansari as ‘Anarkali. Shahrukh is known as an educator and philanthropist for women, whereas Amina is known as a revolution, but she is alive today amongst difficult art challenges. Looking beyond, this a cross border message too. Bridging gaps.
DEVOTED ALLIANCE - QUEEN VICTORIA & ABDUL
Media: OILS AND MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS
Size: (SET OF 2 CANVASES) 2FT X 3FT
A true story of the secret passionate letters between Queen Victoria and Munshi, Abdul Karim after her husband’s death. The bridging gaps between English and Urdu as well as India and England before partition. Not long after the Queen’s death, Abdul also died in Agra. Love is deep, beyond many levels.
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AMINA ART ANSARI
Amina Art Ansari is a renowned British Asian Artist. She studied at Central Saint Martin’s, London College of Printing in London and National College of Arts in Lahore and has two paintings at Windsor Castle’s in a collection to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee.” Her work has been on the BBC several times and other major media channels. She has conducted many projects on Art/Mental Therapy. Amina’s work is well-received across the world and has been featured in many exhibitions. She is donating three paintings to SRI tonight.