$ 0

Goal: $100,000
We Have Collected

Test Event 1

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Dec 09 2020


10:00 am - 6:00 pm
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Event Details

Afsheen Shamsi

Event Moderator
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.

Akbar Ahmed

Welcome Remarks

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).

Letter from the Founders

Dear Friends,

We have always felt a debt of gratitude to the social institutions under which we grew up: Pakistan in the 60’s.  Today, unfortunately, those institutions are but a pale semblance of what they used to be. We were privileged but came from families that, despite their station in society, gave and taught us to give of ourselves to those who were less privileged.

This background, and our subsequent achievements in life, put us in a position to help the most needy people in Pakistan.  We are most effective in Swat:  This is in the region we are from, this is where we best know the people and this is where the people know us well.

We started Swat Relief Initiative at a time when the people of Swat went through the first major trauma of three major disasters: the 2008 Taliban takeover, the ensuing 2009 war and the 2010 mega-floods.

The most vulnerable segments of Swati society are the women and children – they are our focus.  We bring the men along too, for they are key to helping develop a milieu in which women and children can grow into fully contributing members of society.

We have a holistic approach to social growth with programs in Social Mobilization, Health, Education, Economic Development and Sustainable Environment. While working in these areas of social development we partner, when necessary, with individuals and organizations that can supplement our expertise and impact.

Of course, we cannot do any of this without the help of your continuing generous contributions, which we continue to pledge will go directly to where they are needed the most: programs and projects on the ground that provide the greatest opportunity for less fortunate women and children to thrive.


Zebu and Arshad Jilani