As Deputy Director at the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus for the National Assembly of Pakistan, Nazish Rahmani frequently leans on the skills she gained from the MAIDP.
Headshot of Nazish Rahmani
Nazish Rahmani

Nazish Tariq Rahmani, MAIDP'19, currently acts as the Deputy Director at the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus for the National Assembly of Pakistan, a bipartisan, cross party forum of women legislators from both Houses of the Parliament (Senate and the National Assembly) for women’s rights advocacy. “I fight for my kin—women— through a democratic institution I believe in—Parliament. The exposure and skills I received at Harris have been extremely useful in my activism within the corridors of power.”

A member of the inaugural class of the Obama Foundation Scholars Program, Rahmani saw the opportunity as a way to make positive contributions while being a student. “I saw it as an opportunity to grow in light of the organization’s vision, learn from future leaders and contribute to a global development agenda.” “It’s not just any academic program, it’s a transformation!”

In addition to the Obama Scholars Program, Rahmani says she walked away from Harris with frameworks, analytical skills and experiences that were “life changing”. “I took a course on economic development with Professor Amir Jina that has proven to be incredibly helpful in my daily work. Also Professor Martha Nussbaum’s class on global inequality really impacted my outlook on the topic in a major way. And along with the courses, Harris introduced me to data and analysis which I intend to start introducing more into my department’s work. And of course, the exposure to such a diverse student body at Harris was something I’m not sure I could have found anywhere else.”

Rahmani experienced foreign events as a self-proclaimed “90s kid from Pakistan,” striking a balance between dealing with the immediate danger in her region after 9/11 and demonstrating her emotional connection to the recovery of the world’s peace. “We are a generation which has experienced a much safer world before 9/11 and that has greatly impacted the outlook towards life and our role in the world, for most of us.”

Her experience led Rahmani to focus on sustainability as it pertains to both governance and human development, through strong institutions. She ended up joining the National Assembly of Pakistan as a Parliamentary Associate under a European Union Project to strengthen Parliamentary performance which equipped her with tools to transmit the reality of interacting with a world full of challenges to a method of involvement through the Parliament of Pakistan. She worked there for five years before coming to Harris, witnessing the realities of people across Pakistan and helping them through data and personal involvement.

Her service with the Leader of the Opposition Office gave her an opportunity to assist in Government’s oversight and accountability, raise issues of national importance on the Floor of the House, in Parliamentary Committees, at international forums, and during media talks. She has also been involved in gender-specific activism in both Parliament and civil society which supported women in communities as they became involved in local governance. Through Inclusive Security USA, Nazish worked to fulfill the promise of an increase in budget allocation from USFG for Pakistani women police officers as well as the appointment of the first Gender Advisor in the National Police Bureau of Pakistan.

After completing the program, Rahmani returned to Pakistan in her mission of inclusive policy development and uses the skills she acquired and developed to play a leading role in planning/creating/building sustainable policies.