Details

Biography
Topics
Art & Politics
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders
Hip Hop
Islam
Islamophobia
Leadership
Multiculturalism
Poetry/Spoken Word
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
Religion/Theology/Spirituality
Youth/Student Activism

A frequently requested keynote speaker, facilitator, and consultant, Amer F. Ahmed, Ed.D. skillfully interweaves social justice, diversity and inclusion, and intercultural frameworks to cultivate rich and meaningful dialogue with his audiences. He was born in Ohio to Indian Muslim immigrants, and draws on lived experience, deep theoretical analysis, and practical application to guide institutions, leadership, and workplaces on a path to transformative change.



LONG BIO
Amer F. Ahmed, Ed. D., is an individual with an eclectic personal and professional experience. As an intercultural diversity consultant, college administrator, facilitator, poet and Hip Hop activist, he channels his diverse experiences into work geared towards effective change serving to create mutual benefit for all. 

Born in Springfield, Ohio to Indian Muslim immigrants, Amer has dedicated his life to engaging and facilitating diversity across human difference. His studies in Anthropology and Black Studies have been enhanced by powerful study abroad experiences in South Africa and Nepal. His education, world experiences and his Indian-Muslim-American upbringing helps him understand the need for respect and dignity of all people.

Amer has served as Director of Intercultural Programs at Loras College in Dubuque, IA and Concordia College in Moorhead, MN before moving on to University of Michigan and later to Swarthmore College. His professional experience provides him with unique perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion policies and practices in Higher Education and numerous other professional contexts. 

Amer is also a prominent national speaker invited to numerous campuses, conferences and institutes to speak on his diverse areas of expertise. He also has been featured on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris Perry” show and in “Cracking the Codes,” a documentary film on racism directed by Dr. Shakti Butler. His writings have appeared in numerous publications. Among his many areas of expertise, Amer has most prominently been engaged as a unique resource to address issues related to Islam, Islamophobia and interfaith issues.

Throughout his career, Amer has consistently addressed all forms of marginality that impact how individuals experience institutions and issues of social justice that continue to face traditionally marginalized communities. In addition, he bridges this work with the field of Intercultural Communication emphasizing developmental approaches to Intercultural sensitivity. Such approaches have been useful in his work on Organizational, Leadership and Student Development and Assessment as well as in Workshop facilitation and Public speaking.  Amer is continuing this work as Director of Intercultural Teaching and Faculty Development at University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Faculty at the Summer and Winter Institutes for Intercultural Communication and a member of SpeakOut: Institute for Democratic Education.

Amer’s is deeply rooted and committed to the empowerment of young people through unique approaches that seek to unlock their creative potential. Through engagement with new and social media, arts and facilitation; Amer is committed to lifting voices of the youth to create transformative change in the world.

Testimonials

“Amer's a dynamic social justice educator who can impact communities in both workshop and lecture settings. He has the ability to present knowledge on intercultural sensitivity and communication and apply it to everyday practice. He speaks on the issues of Islamophobia in great depth and allows for honest and authentic dialogue. During his visit, Amer created multiple opportunities for participants to productively struggle with the material and allow for self-growth and progress.”
— Rudy Mondragon, Coordinator of Leadership Training and Events, University of Washington

“Amer brings a refreshing and innovative approach to the field of Multicultural Student Affairs and passionately models the work through his ability to connect with people across all identities. He is firmly committed to social justice and creates effective avenues for change through true partnerships with students and colleagues.”
— Monita Thompson, Assistant Director of Students, Co-Director, The Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

“Amer's program was so full of enlightening information and insights that I wish we could have had our entire student body in the room. We also appreciate that he was generous with his time in talking with our students after the program ended.”
— Ted F. Hoef, Ph.D. Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Webster University, St. Louis MO

"Thank you for your relatability, authenticity, and captivating presentation abilities in delivering this content. I overheard and engaged in many conversations throughout the institute on how your session had blown everyone's socks off, made us think, reconsider how we are serving students, and made attending the conference worthwhile. Seriously, your session made the entire (NASPA) Multicultural Institute experience worth it for me. "
— MaryAnn Gibney, The Center for Leadership & Service, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

“Amer served as our keynote speaker for our 2nd Annual Multicultural Student Leadership Conference and he did an amazing job! Our theme was "Progress through Unity" and he really communicated the importance of unity and coalitions among our multicultural students. He was energetic and very personable. His presentations were amazing and so helpful for us to create an action plan to strengthen our multicultural student community. I look forward to working with him again.”
— Yvania Garcia-Pusateri, Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs, Miami University, Oxford OH

"Amer Ahmed was a phenomenal choice for our annual MLK Day program. Speaking about the global intersections between hip hop and activism he connected with our students deeply in his workshops and informal conversations afterward. In a distinctively engaging way he invited—and inspired—students to think deeply about our world. We couldn't have asked for more."
— Tom Simpson, Ph.D.Chair, Martin Luther King Day Committee, Phillips Exeter Academy

"Bringing a lecture about Islam and the myths and perceptions of the religion was truly amazing to have on our campus. What was great about the experience was that there were so many similarities to Christianity that the audience did not know about. What was also amazing is the conversations that continued to happen throughout the week about the event. I would definitely recommend having Amer F. Ahmed on your college campus."  
— Kimberly Herrera, Coordinator, Student Activities, Anne Arundel Community College, MD

"(Amer's)presentation was both informative and thought-provoking, drawing out many of the myths that people hold towards Islam and providing knowledge to counteract the harmful stereotypes...Amer was able to provide facts supported with recent events and life experiences in a manner that drew on the seriousness of the situation while brightening the mood through the use of humor to distinguish some of the flawed thought processes that occur in society and media today.”
— Joshua Parr, Vice President/ Interim President, Multicultural Student Coalition, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

"Islamophobia, one of the most important issues of our time, comes face to face with one of the most precise presenters on the topic. With extensive experience, fierce insight and bold intelligence, Amer F. Ahmed unravels the culture of fear—and misinformation—that too often dominates our national understanding of race, equality, citizenship and American Muslims."
— Bakari Kitwana, author, The Hip-Hop Generation

"His is a fresh new vision of a world in which the very concept of culture is changed and we have much to learn from him.”
— Patti Digh, co-founder The Circle Project and author Life is a Verb and Global Literacies

“Amer Ahmed is a conscious, caring and effective presenter and professional. I highly recommend him and promise you folks will be challenged, informed and energized afterwards!”
— Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Founder/Director, The White Privilege Conference

“Amer Ahmed has a gift of being able to talk about Islamic history, traditions, and values without stimulating defensiveness or stirring up arguments in his listeners. He is wonderful at working with people at any level of sophistication; he widens our knowledge bases without making us feel like dunces. This takes great emotional and intellectual skill. Students identify with Amer's hip hop life as well, and feel inspired by having an Islamic hip hop brother.”
— Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., Founder, National SEED Project, author of “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”

Speeches

Dr. Ahmed draws from his diverse experiences across a range of higher educational and organizational settings to offer lectures, workshops, trainings, consultation, and facilitation.

Faculty Development Workshop on Inclusive Pedagogy: Classroom Teaching Strategies
As educational institutions continue to cultivate strategies to create diverse and inclusive climates; there has been increased focus on student experiences in the classroom. This workshop will be an opportunity for faculty to engage the core intercultural skills that strengthen their ability to facilitate learning in diverse classrooms. In addition, faculty will consider what assumptions often exist in classroom settings and how to engage in pedagogy that can create a more equitable and student-centered learning environment.  Finally, faculty will explore how to facilitate difficult conversations and other methods that support dynamic and inclusive learning environments for students.
 
Dismantling the ‘U.S. versus International’ Dichotomy: Creating Synergy between Intercultural and Diversity/Social Justice Approaches
Intercultural approaches are often adopted by those in organizations who engage in international and ‘global’ efforts while Diversity and Social Justice approaches tend to be viewed as only applicable in U.S. contexts. As the trend of 'Globalizing’ Business, Higher Education and other sectors rapidly accelerates, there are many missed opportunities due to the lack of synthesis of the two approaches. This dichotomy often prevents us from understanding the relationship between local and global factors that impact our ability to engage constituencies holistically. For example, by engaging issues related to immigration and more specifically undocumented people in only one of these approaches, it prevents us from understanding the relationship between local and global factors impacting diverse contextual realities around the world. In addition, the integration of these approaches better highlights the historical context and inequities created from power dynamics that must be considered in order to effectively navigate intercultural realities in our world today.

Addressing Islamophobia: Proactive Efforts to Address Hate and Bias on Campus
The post-9/11 era in the U.S. has exposed a significant degree of prejudice and bigotry towards Muslim people. More recently, the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election has exacerbated the broad vilification of Muslims to serve political agendas. In 2012, a violent hate-motivated attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin highlighted the fact that Islamophobia is not just an issue that only impacts Muslims in America.  Meanwhile, underscored by the horrific murders of three UNC students, there continues to be widespread racial profiling, hate crimes and bullying throughout the country and on our campuses. In light of this reality, questions remain regarding what administrators and faculty on campuses can do to proactively address these issues. This presentation will educate and update participants on the current realities related to Islamophobia and will challenge participants to develop practical steps that can be made on their respective campuses to address the issue.

Intercultural Leadership Development
Among the array of perspectives on Leadership, most tend to focus on positional and individual achievement. These approaches to leadership typically reinforce the message that individuals should operate according to dominant cultural norms in order to succeed. What happens when we begin to conceive of leadership in a fundamentally different way that accounts for the need for intercultural skills? This workshop will engage participants in cultivating intercultural skills as necessary for effective leadership in the 21st Century. In this process, the goal will be to cultivate leadership that emphasizes community development, inclusion and equity rather than individual achievement.

Hip Hop Pedagogy
As commitment to quality education continues to lag in urban environments; educators continue to seek alternative methods to reach students who often come to classrooms with significant challenges.  Hip Hop continues to be a powerful cultural force in the lives of urban youth and presenting opportunities to utilize unique pedagogies and methodologies to reach students.  In addition, Hip Hop also presents opportunities in Higher Education to create diverse spaces that strengthen the overall educational development of students who often struggle to find comfortable cultural spaces on campus.  This session will introduce participants to the fast-growing world of Hip Hop Education.

Other Presentations and Workshops Include (descriptions provided upon request):

  • Strategic Diversity Consultation, Planning and Implementation
  • Workshop on Allyhood and Campus Hate/Bias Bystander Intervention
  • Diversifying Study Abroad Programs
  • Adapting to Change:  Proactive Embedding of Diversity Strategies in the Trump Era
  • Yoga, Henna and Sweatshops: Cultural Appropriation, Exploitation and the Commodification of South Asian Culture
  • Islam:  Beyond the Myths, Breaking down the Barriers
  • Engaging Challenging Dynamics in the Classroom
  • Building Multicultural Student Coalitions
  • Islam and Hip Hop
  • Utilizing Intercultural and Social Justice Frames to Build Inclusive Student Affairs Practices
  • Diasporic Dialogues: Creating Opportunities for Understanding between International Students and U.S. Students of Color of Shared Ancestry on Campus
  • Dismantling the Dichotomies:  A Post-Orlando Discussion on Islamophobia, Homophobia, Anti-Blackness, and Anti-Immigration
  • Asian-American Identity in the Age of Jeremy Lin
  • From the Griot to Hip Hop: The Oral Tradition as Pedagogy in Islamic Black America
Media
Amer F. Ahmed at Webster University