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Aneesa Patwary

MPP '19

Growing up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Aneesa Patwary was subjected to Islamophobic comments which shaped her identity and interests. The daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, she views public policy as a way to change narratives about marginalized communities and return agency to the voiceless.

Patwary attended The George Washington University, where she studied international affairs and economics. She worked as a legislative intern in the office of US Senator Carl Levin, where she focused on bills about women’s issues, human rights, education, and health care. She also volunteered as an English teacher in Kırklareli, Turkey with the Federation of Balkan American Associations, and with the AmeriCorps program Jumpstart in the Washington, DC, area. Patwary also gained valuable experience at the US Department of State in the Office of International Religious Freedom and with the Muslim Public Affairs Council working to empower Muslim Americans. She is interested in how religious conflicts shape identity and impact economic development and accessibility to resources around the world.

While at Harris, Patwary worked as a research assistant for Professor Chris Blattman on a project regarding vote-buying in Uganda and with student group Muslim Affairs and Public Policy to bring various speakers to campus to discuss issues affecting Muslims across the globe. In summer 2018, she interned with the Cook County Board of Commissioners in Commissioner García’s office, focusing on legislation at the county level regarding immigration, criminal justice reform, and protecting the rights of underserved communities. Following graduation, she accepted employment as a data analyst at Lawndale Christian Legal Center. 

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.