APF 2018 Year in Review

Dear APF Community:

I am pleased to share this comprehensive update on 2018 APF activities.  I  would like to offer my appreciation to our extraordinary dedicated team of  board members, professionals, students, and entrepreneurs from across the country and beyond.  They hail from a range of backgrounds and represent several generations. I am thankful for the time they commit to APF to help advance our mission.  Thank you for your involvement!

I would like to share a few highlights from this year:

APF welcomed seven new accomplished board members:  Dr. Rafat Ansari, Faisal Essa,  Fazle Husain, Dr. Uzma Iqbal, Ansir Junaid,  Zarrar Sehgal, and  Nasar Qureshi, MD, PhD, FCAP.  Maha Rasheed Khan has joined as an APF Ambassador.

Spanning  over 113,000 connections across email and social media, the APF Communications initiative serves as a platform for positive Pakistani related news, events, and opportunities in partnership with more than 100 organizations.  I encourage you to join APF on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedInTwitter, and our mailing list.

The APF team helped to support and drive people to events across the country including charitable, cultural, student driven, and UN related programs.

A cohort of nine US based professionals and students served as APF Fellows at the National Rural Support Program (NRSP) in Pakistan.

APF encourages community support of scalable technological education initiatives such as  Knowledge Platform  and  Teach the World Foundation  and non-profit school systems such as FESF - Deaf Reach, The Citizens Foundation, and Developments in Literacy.  I encourage you to learn more and getting involved with these organizations to help the 25 million children out of school in Pakistan and to help improve the quality of education for those who are enrolled.

The Johns Hopkins SAIS-APF Pakistan Program,  The Pakistan Forum is being l ed by APF Board Member, Shamila Chaudhary.  The Forum is fostering new pathways towards understanding Pakistan by expanding the focus beyond the conventional national security lens to promote a comprehensive study of the country. This is a unique opportunity to bring fresh perspective and new ideas about Pakistan to decision makers in Washington, DC.

APF has focused on serving Pakistani organizations in the US and Pakistan.  Considering the needs of the Pakistani American community, it is essential we continue to empower youth who are our nation's future.

Looking forward, APF aims to leverage its national network to help enable connectivity among young professionals and between established professionals and students and recent graduates.   By using technology and growing our team, every single Pakistani American in the United States can join APF and use the platform to connect, serve, and further their goals.

APF has developed the nationwide APF Emerging Leaders initiative as 1. a platform for young professionals to connect and develop and 2. a mentorship and internship program to link youth with established professionals and opportunities to gain experience.  A group of young professionals and students from across the country gathered in Houston to develop a framework for a national Pakistani American young professionals organization.  One of the recent young Pakistani Americans to recently join is Fez Zafar, a junior in high school who was recently recognized for his community work.  In the sixth grade, he began to raise funds to provide educational opportunities, healthcare, and meals to children in Pakistan, Uganda, Guatemala, and his local community.  He has raised $150,000 to date while founding the American Iftar Dinner to bring people of different backgrounds together, becoming a national finalist in speech and debate, producing films including one that was honored at the White House, and much more.  He is one of the many phenomenal young leaders who are doing impactful work in their communities and have joined our initiative to connect with one another.  APF Emerging Leaders is a scalable effort that almost anyone in the US can join.   As we grow, I encourage you to stay tuned for involvement opportunities.

I encourage you to learn more about each initiative below and to get involved.  You can help APF grow and expand to serve the Pakistani American community and beyond by making a contribution: americanpakistan.org/donate

Thank you for your support of APF and Happy New Year!

Best regards,

Riaz Siddiqi
Chair, American Pakistan Foundation

APF Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders from Across the Country in Houston, Texas

APF Emerging Leaders is comprised of two main programs: a young professionals network and a mentorship and internship program.

APF Emerging Leaders Professional Network

The APF Emerging Leaders Professional Network is an initiative of the American Pakistan Foundation committed to promoting connectivity, developing leadership capacity, community impact, and advancing the diaspora community with the leadership of regional committees.

APF Emerging Leaders aims to develop Pakistani-American leaders by providing ambitious young professionals with the opportunity to build relationships, serve the community, and connect with  public service, professional, and entrepreneurial/professional engagements.

Young professionals and students from across the country met in Houston, Texas for a retreat and launch where they developed ideas for the network.  A working group from the retreat has emerged to develop a structure for the network with committees to serve a range of missions.

APF Emerging Leaders Mentorship and Internship Program

The mentorship and internship program aims to connect local mentors and hosts with mentees and interns across the US.  Mentorship and internship opportunities have been identified as a need by a broad range of community members from students who would like to be mentored and gain experience to established professionals who would like to directly serve and provide opportunities for youth.

As a pilot, APF Houston and national based team members developed the APF Houston Internship Program.  The program connects local companies and organizations with youth who have the opportunity to gain direct experience and guidance.  Students from across the country applied with further requests to set up similar programs in other cities.

APF can leverage its network of students, recent graduates, and established entrepreneurs and professionals to make linkages. These connections will provide service opportunities and guidance/experience to those who need it.   An online mentorship and internship portal is currently being developed to help allow mentors/hosts and mentees/interns to sign up for profiles and connect.

APF Houston Internship Pilot

PSA UH Leaders at the APF Emerging Leaders Launch

As part of the APF Emerging Leaders Initiative, APF local leaders launched the APF Houston Internship pilot program in Houston, Texas. The APF Houston Internship Program matched students with host companies and organizations for full time internships.  The initiative also collaborated with the Pakistan Student Association at the University of Houston leaders who encouraged their members to apply.

The initiative was supported by  a national team of committed professionals and students: Hamza Ali (Yasons), Zahid Rahman (Global Custom Commerce), Sameen Faruqi (University of Texas at Austin), Abiha Jafri (University of Connecticut), Aleeza Ali (George Mason), and Hassan Saeed (Santander).

APF Fellows Program

Celebrating Pakistan Independence Day

NRSP Retreat

The second class of APF Fellows served National Rural Support Program (NRSP) in Islamabad and rural areas of Pakistan.  The Fellows are U.S. based students and professionals who are committed to creating positive socio-economic change in Pakistan. NRSP works with over two million rural households, 150,000 community organizations, and 500 local support organizations in Pakistan.  Each fellow was placed with a specific program based on their professional and academic interests.

The 2018 APF Fellows were selected from a competitive pool of applicants with a comprehensive selection process and support from dedicated APF board and team members.   Committee members, Osman Khan (Ernst and Young), Kashif Zafar (Crédit Agricole), Aleeza Ali (George Mason)Hassan Saeed (Santander Bank), Noor Sheikh (2017 APF Fellow & Hunter College Graduate), Fatimah Alyas (Columbia University), Dr. Nasar Qureshi (QDx Pathology Services), and Riaz Siddiqi (Denham Capital) provided support to the program on top of their busy academic, professional, and philanthropic schedules.

Meet the 2018 APF Fellows

Urwah Ahmad ( Brooklyn, NY)
Journalism New Media Studies and Political Science Graduate of St. Joseph's College
Placement: Waseela-e-Taleem Program

Aleeza Ali ( Fairfax, Virginia)
B.A. Candidate for Global Affairs and Conflict Resolution at at George Mason University
Placement: SABAQ Digital Learning System

Owais Fazal ( Frisco, Texas)
B.A. Candidate for Social Policy Analysis and Global Health Technologies at Rice University
Placement: Malaria Prevention and Control Program
Meraal Hakeem ( Austin, Texas)
B.A. Candidate for International Relations and Global Studies and Government at University of Texas at Austin 
Placement: Benazir Income Support Program, Business Incubation for Self-Employment

Sawera Hussan ( Newington, CT)
B.A. Candidate for Political Science and Human Rights at University of Connecticut 
Placement: SABAQ Digital Learning System

Uzair Iqbal ( San Antonio, Texas)
Recycling Coordinator for the City of San Antonio, Texas
Placement: Water, Immunization, Sanitation and Education (WISE)

Samar Shahid ( Boston, MA)
Masters of Bioethics Graduate from Harvard Medical School 
Placement: Delivering Accelerated Family Planning in Pakistan (DAFPAK)

Saira Shakeel ( El Sobrante, CA)
South and Southeast Asian Studies graduate from the University of California, Berkeley
Placement: Delivering Accelerated Family Planning in Pakistan (DAFPAK)

Akber Sheikh ( Fresno, CA)
Molecular and Cell Biology - Neurobiology and South Asian Studies graduate from University of California, Berkeley
Placement: Malaria Prevention and Control Program

See their full biographies here: 

One of the top applicants, Rina Sarfraz who recently graduated high school on Long Island completed a remote internship with CIRCLE, ( circlewomen.org) an organization with the aim to  advance women's economic participation and empowerment through innovative entrepreneurship and leadership labs, advocacy campaigns, and research.

Johns Hopkins SAIS-APF Pakistan Program

The Pakistan Forum
Creating New Pathways for the Study of Pakistan

Led by APF Board Member, Shamila Chaudhary, Johns Hopkins SAIS, a leading academic institution in international affairs, is organizing The Pakistan Forum. Capitalizing on SAIS's wide ranging expertise on Pakistan, the Pakistan Forum is fostering new pathways towards understanding Pakistan by expanding the focus beyond the conventional national security lens to promote a comprehensive study of the country. This is a unique opportunity to bring fresh perspective and new ideas about Pakistan to decision makers in Washington, DC.

Recognizing the enormous potential of such an influential institution investing so much time, effort, resource and expertise to deepen US understanding of Pakistan, APF is partnering with SAIS to advance the Pakistan Forum. The partnership will involve an on-going exchange of ideas, connections and facilitating financial support for the Forum. In addition, the SAIS-APF collaboration will foster new networks and relationships between Pakistani-Americans and policy makers; generate opportunities for emerging Pakistani American leaders to learn about, and connect with, the policy making environment in Washington, DC, and amplify the ground-breaking perspectives on Pakistan that the Forum will generate.

 APF Communications and Outreach

APF serves as a platform for positive Pakistani related news, events, and opportunities in partnership for more than 100 organizations and leaders.  Positive news and involvement opportunities are shared on social media throughout the day. We have partnered with more than 40 local Pakistani photographers to share the beauty of Pakistan on our Instagram account and across APF's social media pages. Our members receive email updates on APF and featured individuals/organizations on a weekly basis. We have grown from 95,400 connections across social media and email at the start of the year to more than 113,000 connections by the end of December:

Along with positive news on Pakistan and Pakistani Americans from a wide range of sources, we have published journalist Beena Sarwar's article, "Why the Diaspora Must Support Pakistan's Efforts Against Polio," and APF Correspondent, Noor Shaikh covered The Noor Project with an article on their charitable activities in Pakistan. We have additional updates and articles lined up for publication in the coming weeks and months.

Our Board Chair, Riaz Siddiqi was featured on Global Connections Television where he spoke about APF's work, the role of the Pakistani-American diaspora, Pakistan's global identity, and innovation in education: https://conta.cc/2NHWnNf 


Speakers at the event, including APF's Aleeza Ali (center back row)

APF partnered with the Family Education Services Foundation ( FESF),  Deaf Reach, and the  Man Up Campaign to participate in the  United Nations  Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Session , the UN's largest gathering on gender equality.  CSW is an intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The CSW is instrumental in promoting women's rights, documenting the reality of women's lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The focus of the gathering was on the theme, "Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls."

APF, FESF, and Deaf Reach partnered on a UN CSW side event, "Take on the Real Challenge of SDGs" with stakeholders from Australia, the Philippines, India, Ghana and beyond.

Aleeza Ali represented APF, FESF, and  Developments in Literacy (DIL) at the event, where she gave a speech on gender equality in Pakistan and spoke about her personal reasons for supporting this cause. She stated "we can all agree that women and girls are at the heart of the sustainable development of households and communities," and spoke on the successes of initiatives that have adopted implementation of the SDGs in regard to education and disability inclusion in Pakistan.

APF Team Member and Assistant Principal, Nusrat Sohail brought students from a school in New Jersey to participate.

APF's Professor Ameena M. Zia was invited to present recommendations at the interactive expert panel on "Innovative data approaches for measuring progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls" during CSW ministerial meetings at the United Nations. Ameena serves a UN Representative at ECOSOC focusing on inclusive education & social development. Her speech reiterated the importance of "national gender equality mechanisms, academia, civil society organizations and the offices of national statistics as key stakeholders in utilizing information and communication technologies (ICTs)."

Roosevelt House Human Rights Intern at APF, Mrinali Dhembla  represented APF at various UN events throughout the school year where she learned about the struggles of women around the world. In particular, she learned about the journey of a woman who worked at the Gambian mission: "She described her journey from being a young girl living under extremely repressive conditions, to being the current face of her country at the United Nations...Ultimately, we all recognized the existence of a strong community of female activists--one of change-driven, motivated women, who are teeming with the energy needed to fight violence perpetrated against them in public places."

Mrinali personally joined APF and another Pakistani organization after growing up in India. In her experience in the US as a college student, she has connected with Pakistanis and learned how Pakistanis and Indians have more similarities than differences.  Over the winter break, she went back to India and personally served Muslim refugees from Burma, particularly the women who are disliked by her peers. While most of our team is of Pakistani decent, Mrinali shows how someone can see our common humanity and cross cultural boundaries as she has at APF for the greater good.


APF hosts and serves as a partner for events across the country.
Some highlights include:

APF served as a community partner for the South Asian International Film Festival hosted by HBO in New York City.

APF served as a publicity partner and helped to serve the UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council interactive benefit concert of "The Conductor's Spellbook."  The concert supported  Teach the World Foundation, which aims to alleviate illiteracy with revolutionary digital technology.

APF and  the PSA of the University of Houston promoted and supported an event featuring CDRS - Comprehensive Disaster Response Services.  CDRS has an innovative program to work with Pakistani Americans who want to create their own development projects in Pakistan in partnership with the CDRS Logistics Team and CDRS Youth. 

CDRS is a non-profit charitable organization registered in the United States and Pakistan for disaster relief and development work. CDRS serves people in need of all backgrounds in emergencies and disasters all over Pakistan and the world.  CDRS also runs long-term health relief programs such as health system support and rehabilitation, support to special patients, mother & child health, youth community service, and women's empowerment.  Learn more at: https://cdrsworld.org 

APF hosted the  Pakistan  Health and Education Forum in Chicago to welcome Ahson Rabbani, CEO of the ChildLife Foundation, and Daniel Lanthier, Director of FESF.

Soch: Columbia University Symposium

The APF Team assisted with identifying panelists and with marketing.

Asia Society: Lahore Literary Festival
Celebrating contemporary Pakistan at Asia Society

APF assisted with publicity and in return was able to provide access to discounted tickets our members, and complementary tickets for local youth.  The festival explored contemporary Pakistan through artists, writers, and commentators.  Click here to watch the festival videos.  Click here to watch Saami Brothers Qawwal perform traditional music.

Pakistani Cultural Showcase in Houston  ft. Coke Studio Sensation Asim Azhar
by the University of Houston Pakistani Student Association
APF team member, Zahid Rahman helped to support the planning and execution of the event,  presented on APF, and the APF national team used an online marketing strategy to help reach people in Houston to help drive more than the 600 person capacity to attend.

APF introduced I AM KARACHI to contacts in the NYC area for their visit to NYC. APF interns and Rutgers University students, Hasnan Shah and Humza Yousuf hosted an event for them at their school.  APF is planning on featuring them further.

New York Indian Film Festival
APF helped to drive people to a Pakistani film that was featured in the festival.

APF is planning to have a session in partnership with PAYS - Pakistani American Youth Society in Little Pakistan, Brooklyn, NY on immigration based legal assistance in partnership with Legal Services NYC and other organizations.  We are planning on having the organizations share pertinent information with the legal community and have an intake session to help community members sign up for free or low cost legal assistance.  Other legal services offered by Legal Services NYC will also be offered to those who are eligible. A change in legal status can help community members who qualify gain protection from deportation, access to job opportunities and eventually become eligible to vote.

APF Team

Jocelyne Jeannot, Abu Baker, and Vanessa O'Brien at Gracie Mansion

47 APF team members were honored by the Mayor's Office of NYC for their 100-1,600 hours of service in one year with certificates from Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin.   The team includes dedicated board members, pro-bono professionals, interns, and volunteers who commit time on top of busy careers and schedules. The 7 team members who dedicated 500 hours or more were invited to a special ceremony by the First Lady of NYC, Chirlane McCray, at Gracie Mansion, the home of the Mayor. We had an additional 50 volunteers throughout the year who assisted at events or participated in service projects that were counted in an official volunteers count report by NYC. This is the fourth year that the APF team has been recognized.   Our team continues to grow regularly with the APF Emerging Leaders initiative as a recent main driver of growth.

I have had extended Pakistani family for over 25 years. All of the 2nd generation have been educated here. Some have remained. They have become involved politically, socially, and economically. I have witnessed their commitment to cross-culturalism, to empowerment through education, to healthcare both here and in their country of birth. They give back... as the American Pakistan Foundation leadership and membership does. To create development that is sustainable is a community effort... APF creates and fosters this community.
- Susan Beer, APF Board Member

APF provided me the once in a lifetime opportunity to see for myself the place that has shaped so much of my identity and to provide some service to it. For that I am eternally grateful.
- Muizz Akhtar, APF Fellow

  • Pursuant to our strategic plan, APF aims to help advance projects and ideas with the potential of a positive transformational impact on the poor in Pakistan. Two prime areas were identified: education and healthcare--areas of deficit in Pakistan.
  • A quantum leap in the Pakistani education sector is needed to help improve access to and the quality of education. Almost 25 million of approximately 60 million school age kids are not in school. Among those who do enroll in a primary school, over 50% do not graduate from high school. Drop outs are a significant portion of the out-of-school kids.
  • Given the enormity of the problem, a scalable and transformative approach with the use of recent developments in education can help to bridge these gaps:
    • Technology driven learning: using tablet and projector based systems to connect students with high quality teaching materials.
    • Interactive student focused methods with personalized, group, interactive, and game and competition based learning.
  • APF featured when two prominent experts, Shafique Khan of Teach the World Foundation and Mahboob Mahmood of Knowledge Platform at our 2018 retreat.  They made presentations about the challenge and their innovative approaches.
  • As a result of APF efforts, members of the Pakistani American community have shown significant interest to directly support transformative activities in the education sector.  Over $300,000 in contributions have been made.
  • A team of APF volunteers and staff provided logistical and outreach support to Teach the World Foundation at a UN benefit concert.

i-Care Donor Advised Fund

APF is working with i-Care, a donor advised fund to assist with the transfer of funds from the US to Pakistan for charitable organizations.  They currently serve this role for about 100 organizations in Pakistan. With registration in the US and Pakistan, i-Care facilitates the transfer of $2.5-3 million per year, for a total of over $14 million to date.  APF has connected charitable donors to give via i-Care to allow for transparency and tax deductibility .  Learn more at i-care-pakistan.org

Welcome to our new APF Board Members and Ambassadors!

Our new board members this year include Dr. Rafat Ansari, Faisal Essa, Fazle Husain, Dr. Uzma Iqbal, Ansir Junaid, Zarrar Sehgal, and Nasar Qureshi, MD, PhD, FCAP.  Maha Khan has joined as an APF Ambassador based in Houston.

Dr. Rafat Ansari, along with his wife, Dr. Zoreen Ansari, are well-known for their medical expertise and exceptional philanthropic efforts, including crossing religious lines as Muslims to give $15 million to Notre Dame University, a Catholic institution for religious studies. A renowned oncologist, Dr. Ansari earned his medical degree from Liaquat Medical College and the University of Sindh in Pakistan. Dr. Ansari later on completed a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis.

Faisal Essa is a Managing Director at Citigroup Inc. where he is the Head of FX and Capital Markets group within the Treasury Investments office.  He manages Treasury's international investments portfolio and foreign exchange risk in over fifty countries. In addition, he executes Citi's capital and funding plan in the market which includes issuance of debt and capital securities and stock buybacks.  He is a member of Treasury Risk and Funding and Liquidity Committees, and the Board of one of Citi's subsidiaries.

Fazle Husain is a Partner and Head of US Healthcare at CVC Capital Partners, a global private equity firm with a network of 23 offices and over 400 employees throughout Europe, Asia and the US. The CVC Group manages over $50 billion of assets. Prior to joining CVC Capital, Mr. Husain was a Managing Director at Metalmark Capital from 2007-2016, and was responsible for leading their effort in healthcare. Before Metalmark Capital, he was also with Morgan Stanley & Co. in the private equity business, where he spent 18 years.

Dr. Uzma Iqbal is the President of the Houston Center of HOPE and a Medical Oncologist and Hematologist based in Houston. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Palliative Care, and American Board of Integrative Medicine.  Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Dr. Iqbal graduated from Fatima Jinnah Medical College in Lahore. She then moved to New York for her residency and fellowship at the Mount Sinai Medical Center.  She served as an Assistant Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and as an Attending Physician at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.  In her current role, Dr. Iqbal has served as the Chief of Medical Staff at the Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center, the Chair of Council of Chiefs of Staff at the Harris County Medical Society.  She is currently the Chair elect of the Council of Medical Legislation at the Harris County Medical Society.  Dr. Iqbal has served on the Board of several nonprofit organizations including Developments in Literacy, OPEN Houston, and as one of the Founding Board Members of the Alliance for Compassion and Tolerance.

Ansir Junaid, known as Junaid is the founder and CEO of PWC, a group of companies with enterprises in the fields of recycling and sustainability, pallet management and manufacturing, self-storage, green technology, warehousing, packaging supplies, supply chain management, transportation, hospitality, cell phones, call centers, and technology.   The PWC group of companies serve Fortune 500 companies globally.  The largest company within the PWC family is Prime Woodcraft, which is one of the largest pallet companies nationwide, with a network of over four hundred manufacturers and 60 plus facilities of its own.  Junaid also serves as the Chairman of SupplySide USA, a wholesaler of shipping, packaging, and office supplies, gifts, retail products, and greeting cards.

Maha Rasheed Khan has been working with Developments in Literacy (DIL) for the past 15 years, and is currently Houston chapter President of the organization.  She is joining APF as an Ambassador for the Southwest. She is a member of the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary, and was previously a board member of the Sweetwater Country Club Women's Association. She supports Interfaith Ministries, the Houston Grand Opera, the Pin Oak Charity, UNICEF, the Audrey Hepburn Society Ball, and the Houston 20, a task force dedicated to stopping human trafficking. Mrs. Khan was also a chairman for the Super Bowl Extravaganza, Super Bowl 51, and is a board member of Historical Texas Treasures.

Zarrar Sehgal is Head of the Banking and Finance practice area at Clifford Chance. He is a partner in Clifford Chance's U.S. Finance and Restructuring Group, and Co-Head of the Asset Finance Practice. Mr. Sehgal is also Global Head of Clifford Chance's Transport & Logistics sector group. He has extensive experience representing underwriters, lenders, lessors, and governmental agencies in a wide variety of asset and structured finance transactions. Mr. Sehgal has particular expertise in financing related to aviation, and has worked on several of the most significant transactions in the market, including many transactions that have been awarded 'Deal of the Year' awards from industry publications.

Nasar Qureshi, MD, PhD, FCAP, is the Founder, CEO and Medical Director of QDx Pathology Services, a full-service clinical and anatomical pathology laboratory dedicated to providing diagnostic excellence based in New Jersey. Dr. Qureshi is the Past President of APPNA - Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, which represents more than 15,000 physicians and health care professionals across the United States and Canada.