Ambassador Akbar Ahmed
Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a Visiting Professor and was First Distinguished Chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He has taught at Princeton, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities and has been called “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam” by the BBC. Regularly interviewed by CNN, NPR, BBC, and Al-Jazeera, he has appeared several times on Oprah, and has also been a guest of The Daily Show and Nickelodeon. For the fall term 2012, Ambassador Ahmed was the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor at Cambridge University and Visiting Fellow of Jesus College.
Ahmed was the Pakistan High Commissioner (Ambassador) to the UK and Ireland. He is the author of over a dozen award-winning books, including Discovering Islam, which was the basis of a six-part BBC TV series called Living Islam; the critically acclaimed Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization; Suspended Somewhere Between, a book of verse; and Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, which culminated in the full length documentary, Journey into America, and won the American Book Award for 2011. Two of his books were re-published in 2011 as part of the Routledge Revivals—“restoring to print books by some of the most influential academic scholars of the last 120 years.”
Ahmed gave a sermon as part of the memorial service commemorating the decade since 9/11 at St. Alban’s Church in Washington, D.C. The renowned American historian Professor Stanley Wolpert called Ahmed “the greatest scholar of Islam in America and the world…nobody else stands so high…he is the Dara Shikoh of modern Islamic leaders” (Pakistan Link, 30 December issue, 2011). In October 2012, Ambassador Ahmed gave the keynote address at the last public Christian-Muslim conference at Lambeth Palace hosted by Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and addressed the House of Lords in November, where he was introduced by Baroness Ashfar, as “one of my great heroes.” In the same month, the U.S. Embassy in London hosted a screening of Journey into America and Ambassador Barbara Stephenson described him as “quite simply—one of the greatest scholars of Islam in the world today.” Ahmed has recently published The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror became a Global War on Tribal Islam, with Brookings Institution Press in March 2013. Dr. Rowan Williams has stated on the cover: “This is an unusual and groundbreaking book, which should be compulsory reading for Western governments.”