BWAC Episode 6 - Dr. Amer Ahmed - Humility: A Necessary Modeling Component to Advance Inclusion
We missed you! It's been a while and life is still on full tilt at BWAC but these stories keep on coming. Hang tight for a blitz of releases this week!
On this episode, I have an indulgent chat with Dr. Amer Ahmed, Founder and CEO of AFA Diversity Consulting, LLC organizational strategist who helps institutions and leaders address diversity and inclusion, equity, and intercultural development through consulting, coaching, group facilitation, and keynote speeches. He has published key opinion pieces and has been featured in media such as MSNBC, documentary film, and other national press outlets for his commentary and critical perspective on news and significant topics in society.
Our conversation was expansive and maps his family’s beginnings in India and how his father’s academic success wrote he and his mother's ticket to the US in the 70s. He shares the indelible impact this narrative had on him as a first-generation American living in a largely black community who embraced him as one of their own. We traverse the evolutionary path of his activism in the higher-ed diversity and inclusion space and he shares how he leads with humility and self-implication to advance healing dialogue that serves to connect us.
We then learn how, in his work on college campuses, he rode the waves of rapid socio-political and cultural shifts and translated them into meaningful conversations about diversity. Dr. Ahmed also shares fascinating insights into the evolution of intercultural competence among students on campus and how that awakening has been a driving force of increased rigor and elevation of dialogue around equity.
Dr. Ahmed also introduces the concept of the “Woke Olympics” as a distraction to talking about issues and doing something about them. We have an interesting tete a tete about how policing of language and meaning of words by those who tend to be on the losing end of systemic imbalance is a necessary component of progress.
And if that weren’t enough, Amer talks about how leaders of underrepresented populations can help to recast leadership ideals drawing from a well of epistemological depth which spans cultures. We try to answer questions about the merits of hierarchy as a framework to support effective leadership, how can leaders enable leadership with everyone to create a transformative setting which relies more upon empowerment to unleash a well-spring of creativity that can only come when all ideas are valued, no matter who they come from.
Lastly, we talk about the quite valuable role that proponents of systems of oppression play in shaping the dialogue and spurring action for those representing the collective good to form bigger more powerful coalitions of real, not just rhetorical change. Hold on to your hats for this one!
Links and Books Recommendations
Paulo Freire- Pedagogy of the Oppressed