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Nida Ahmad

Researcher/Consultant, United States of America

Nida Ahmad is a PhD Student in the Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She received her BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and MA in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University. Before commencing her graduate studies at Georgetown University, she worked as an Associate Program Officer for World Learning a non-governmental organization (NGO) which facilitates international educational, professional, and sports exchange programs for the U.S. Department of State and embassies. While at World Learning, she researched and composed several grants which were awarded and managed several Sports Diplomacy programs. Her first official sports exchange program was the “Iranian Water Polo” program which brought the Iranian Men’s Water Polo team to the US. This program was the first program acknowledged by both countries since the 1970s.

She has worked as a consultant for various think tanks and NGOs in Washington DC and New York. As a Consultant for Human Rights Watch she updated the HRW report addressing the inclusion of women and girls in sports initiatives in Saudi Arabia. She also worked as a Program Manager (Pro-Bono) for Shirzanan, a non-profit based in NYC. She provides guidance on implementing sports exchange programs, researched, identified and developed stories to raise awareness of Muslim female sports participation and to help improve Muslim women representation in sports media.

Nida’s research is on Muslim women in sport and digital media. Her thesis is examining the digital lives of Muslim sportswomen and how they are using social media to represent aspects of their identities. She presented “The Rise of Peripheral Sports within Marginalized Populations” at the Innovations in Sport for Development and Peace research conference in 2016; and co-published the “Youth Sport in the Middle East” chapter in Routledge Handbook of Youth Sport (2016), and “Youth, Action Sports and Political Agency in the Middle East: Lessons from Grassroots Parkour Group in Gaza” (2013) in the International Journal of the Sociology of Sport and “Transnational families in Armenia and information communication technology use” (2013) in the International Journal of Communication. She has also written about emerging and current trends of sports initiatives and more can be found on nida-ahmad.com. She was interviewed by NPR about Nike’s new advert about her work with Muslim female athletes and recently by Radio NZ about her PhD research findings.

With Dr. Holly Thorpe, Nida manages the Action Sports for Development and Peace (ASDP) website. In relation to ASDP initiative, she worked closely with Dr. Holly Thorpe, Dr. Megan Chawansky and the staff of Skateistan in Johannesburg, South Africa to develop and implement a 10-day Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) training program in the winter of 2016.

Beginning of 2017, she was invited by the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar to participate in a Working Group, focusing on Sports, Society, and the State in the Middle East. Later in the year, in November 2017, the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport awarded Nida the Barbara Brown Ph.D. Student Paper Award for her paper entitled “Muslim sportswomen as social media ‘space invaders’: Recreating identities and challenging stereotypes in digital spaces”.

Nida is an endurance and outdoor sports enthusiast, whose heart belongs to the mountains and since moving to NZ she has taken up surfing and longboarding. To keep the stress level of PhD life at bay she indulges in CrossFit. Coffee & street art runs through her blood, don’t be surprised if her final 300+ page dissertation appears on a wall and/or canvas somewhere.