East-West Center Oral History Project: Tauseef Ahmed

Tauseef Ahmed

Tauseef Ahmed came to the Population Institute in 1980 as a research intern for Dr. Nasra Shah. He stayed on for 10 years, obtaining his Masters and PhD (1989) at UH.  In the late 1980s, as a member of the local Islamic Center, Ahmed took part in public discussions to help the Honolulu public understand more about Islam.  In 1990 Ahmed became a senior fellow at the Pakistan National Institute of Population Studies where he headed up the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey and later worked for the World Bank on the "Social Action Program Project" in 1995-2002.  Currently, Ahmed, well known for his work on population and health in Pakistan, is a freelance consultant and interim President of the White Ribbon Alliance (Pakistan) for safe motherhood.  After the Pakistani earthquake (2005), he helped remote villagers obtain basic needs and shelter, including assisting couples to obtain bridal dowries in order to get married.  He maintains his connection with researchers in the Program on Population and says his EWC experience helped him to learn tolerance and acceptance of ‘pluralist values'.    


Read Ahmed's interview narrative (pdf)


  • Personal Background
  • Life Before EWC
  • Life at EWC - Population Institute, ‘80s - Family Life, ‘80s - Hale Manoa, Early ‘80s - Interfaith Dialogue
  • EWC’s Impact - On Career, Perspectives
  • Partnerships and Networks
  • Life After EWC


Interview Quotes  
"Working at East-West Center Population Institute, gave me a whole new horizon of not only listening to good research being done there by very senior, professional experts from Korea and the United States, and India, Malaysia, and Indonesia and also meeting people, friends both in the Center who were also interns. I cherished to be like them and make presentation like them."


About living in Hale Manoa:
"That experience as a whole was so great, not only in terms of sharing food in the kitchen, but also listening to a variety of languages and their way of life, and so forth.  It was my first exposure to American way of life.  Going from Pakistan, highly conservative society, I had some reservations regarding its way of life but I was ready to experience it on limited scale.  I carefully observed the good and the bad of life style, appreciated the values that made the American society strong and pointed out the matters that I see undermining the way of life. The openness and smiles as an American way of life and value I considered as a major element, that I did not see in my own society. I took it as a challenge to adopt these in my life style, as a complement to my own values. I maintained my Islamic cultural values in my life. I think my constant observation of American life style also helped me undergo a change in my perspective of life.  It built my character and values of ‘tolerance’ by seeing people behaving differently.  It was later in 1980s around 87, '88, and '89 when I interacted quite actively with local churches, with local Jewish community, and local Buddhist community, not only to tell them about what Islam stood for and its values but also listened to them, and how do they see their life as art of creation."

These narratives, which reflect interviewees’ personal perceptions, opinions and memories, may contain errors of fact. They do not reflect positions or versions of history officially approved by the East-West Center.