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Akbar Ahmed

Global Fellow


    December 31, 2021 — December 31, 2023

    Professional affiliation

    Distinguished Professor and Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, School of International Service, American University; Former Pakistan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland


    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Society and Culture

    Wilson Center Projects

    The Mingling of the Oceans - Publication and Documentary; Gandhi and Jinnah Return Home - Stageplay

    Full Biography

    Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC. 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 in 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, where his posts included Commissioner in Balochistan, Political Agent in the Tribal Areas, 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.”

    Major Publications

    • Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Identity (Brookings Institution Press 2018)
    • The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings Institution Press 2013)
    • Journey into America: Islam, Immigration, and Identity (Brookings Institution Press 2010)