Prior to the Loeb Fellowship, Arif Khan coordinated partnerships for the UN’s World Humanitarian Summit to improve global disaster preparedness and response. He created new alliances between Silicon Valley firms, religious institutions, and global civic organizations. Internationally, he has managed millions of dollars of humanitarian aid, built temporary settlements, and implemented relief and resilience projects that supported hundreds of thousands of people affected by natural disasters and conflicts in Kenya, Indonesia, Somalia, Yemen, Chad, Pakistan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Syria, and Bangladesh.

In the US, he has led initiatives to improve disaster resilience, promote urban walking and bicycling, increase urban green space, and build social capital. He has planned and designed hundreds of miles of bikeways and trails. He founded Depave, a non-profit that works with communities to transform underused parking lots into greenspaces and gardens. He spearheaded the development of the first food garden on international territory at the UN Headquarters in New York, in partnership with New York City Parks, Brooklyn Grange, and other community organizations. In all of his projects, he brings the exceptional ability to identify new possibilities and transform innovative ideas into reality.

During his Loeb year, he explored new approaches to community resilience and social capital. Besides taking classes on leadership, human centered design, communication, and entrepreneurship, he won grant funding to organize a “Rake-In” in Harvard Yard, and won a hackathon at MIT for a developing a rapid prototype for a device that is triggered by the users’ smiles.

Currently he owns and manages a small restaurant called the Hoot Owl in the New York Hudson Valley with his wife Sabeen (MArch 2009)


Arif Khan talks about his work.

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