Intercultural Communication, Centre for
Tasneem Damji started her international development career after graduating from the University of British Columbia with a psychology degree in 1996. As a research assistant for the Institute for Professional Development of the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, she worked with primary school students and teachers in private, public, and community-based schools to integrate health into the curriculum. This experience sparked a lifelong passion to continue working in the developing world. She went on to pursue a masters degree in public health at Columbia University where she worked with a human rights lawyer part-time and in consultation with mental health professionals and parents, implemented a program to help children forced to flee Kosovo in the late 90s deal with the psychosocial effects of war and displacement in a refugee camp in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Following graduation, Tasneem moved to Khorog, known as the roof of the world, in the eastern mountainous part of Tajikistan, in the former Soviet Union. During this time, she worked with local staff of health and education projects to plan and monitor their projects effectively, taking into account the local context and realities on the ground. She co-developed a Master of Science in Development Policy & Management for managers implementing education, health, rural development, humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness and response programs in the country. After 3.5 years, Tasneem moved to her hometown of Vancouver and managed the UBC Certificate in International Development for the next 6 years where she mentored young people thinking of pursuing careers in international development and collaborated with international development professionals to develop courses on various topics critical in the field. Since her heart never really left Tajikistan, Tasneem moved to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, with her family, to live a simple life and inspire young people to make meaningful contributions to their societies. Since September 2011, Tasneem has been working with high school students, recent university graduates and young professionals to help them identify their strengths and choose fields of study and careers that they are excited about. She believes young people have the ability to be catalysts for change and is dedicated to empowering them to make a difference in the world.