Speaker Bio Raza Ahmad Rumi is a policy analyst, journalist and an author. Currently he is Director, Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca College. He is also Visiting Faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and has taught earlier at New York University. Rumi has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy. He remains a nonresident fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.
As a journalist, Raza is editor Daily Times (Pakistan). Earlier he worked with The Friday Times, Pakistan's foremost liberal weekly paper as a writer and an editor for a decade. Raza is also a commentator for several publications in South Asia and beyond.
In Pakistan, he also worked in the broadcast media as an analyst and hosted talk shows at Capital TV and Express News. Raza was also a Director at Jinnah Institute, a public policy think tank and Executive Director of Justice Network- a coalition of NGOs.
Prior to his foray into journalism and public affairs, Raza worked at the Asian Development Bank as a Governance Specialist. His areas of focus included decentralization, access to justice, institutional development and led projects in several South and Southeast Asian countries. At ADB, he also edited two publications on public administration and participatory budget making. Later, as an international development professional, Raza has also worked on designing and implementing projects for UKs Department For International Development, UNDP, UNICEF World Bank, among others. Until recently, Raza also led the Network for Asia Pacific Schools & Institutes of Public Administration and Governance. His academic papers have covered areas such as federalism, public policy choices, access to justice, citizen rights, etc.
Razas work as a public policy practitioner builds on his stint with the Government of Pakistans Administrative Service and United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo where he acted as a municipal administrator in charge of local governance. In 1994, he entered the Pakistani civil service after topping the countrywide competitive examination. He holds a bachelors and masters degree from London School of Economics.
His journalism related work, especially broadcast mass media, brought him under the surveillance of Islamists and their patrons in Pakistan. A militia linked to Taliban attacked Raza in March 2014. He narrowly survived the assassination attempt but his driver died. Thereafter, he moved to the United States.
The Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture on Pakistan is named in honor of one of the leading figures in the history of the Habib family. In addition to successfully guiding the Habib familys transition from India to Pakistan following independence in 1947, Mahomedali Habib laid the foundations for the House of Habib, a group of powerful business and financial companies. The group has a long-standing history of philanthropy and social service and is currently leading the establishment of Habib University, a liberal arts and sciences university, in Pakistan which aims to bridge the gap between global academia and Pakistan. Toward honoring the legacy of Mahomedali Habib who was distinguished by his love for Pakistan and his deep commitment to education and philanthropy the Habib family has decided to endow an annual lecture series in his name. Through this lecture series the Habib family aims to improve and diversify conversations about Pakistan in the United States as well as create opportunities for US and Pakistan-based scholars to dialogue.