Afeefa Syeed is a senior research associate with CIRIS and a senior fellow with the Institute for Global Engagement in Washington, DC. She previous served at the Senior Advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) where she worked with Washington-based and field staff to develop policy, define best practices, highlight success stories, and otherwise build internal capacity and tools to frame country strategies that reflect greater expertise in engaging in dynamic cultural contexts.
Her work includes religion and development, gender inclusion, countering extremism, and integrating cultural context into development and diplomacy. For the past 25 years, she has designed and implemented initiatives and training to address engaging traditional and religious leaders and institutions, human rights, radicalization, socio-political identity, and social entrepreneurship, among other emerging issues.
She has advised the White House, National Security Council, Department of State, UN Democracy Fund, World Bank and various in-country government and non-governmental institutions in Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and Middle East and North Africa. Afeefa founded a model independent school whose core curriculum is peace education and civic engagement. She is a member of various interfaith, social service and advocacy organizations in the US and her involvement and community activism led her to run as a candidate for local office in 2003. She is a published writer and regular speaker on a variety of issues.