Our Leadership

DIL operates under the auspices of a US-based Board of Directors and a Pakistan-based Board of Trustees. DIL was granted tax-exempt status 501 (c) (3) by the IRS in February 2000.The organization has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator four years in a row.


Dr. Maleeha Lodhi

Dr. Maleeha Lodhi is a journalist, an academic and a diplomat from Pakistan. Until recently, she was the High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom, and a former Ambassador to the United States. She is currently a Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has also been a member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Board on Disarmament.

  • Advisory Board

    Advisory Board

    Sara Abbasi

    Sara Abbasi is founding board member of Developments in Literacy, having established DIL’s San Francisco chapter in 2001. Sara currently serves on the board of World Affairs, the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding, and Stanford University Islamic Studies Program. Sara and her husband, Sohaib, endowed the Abbasi program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University in 2003. The Abbasi program aims to promote a better understanding of Islam, Muslims and Islamic Civilization. Sara holds a BA in business administration from Santa Clara University, a MA in international relations from Golden Gate University, and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in liberal arts at Stanford University.

    Amjad Ali Khan

    Mr. Khan is a co-founder and the managing partner of Afridi & Angell. He heads the firm’s banking and financial services practice and advises on both conventional and Shari’a compliant transactions. He represents the firm’s international and local clients including banks and leading multinationals in banking, financial, and corporate transactions in Dubai and abroad. He also represents clients in relation to investments in the GCC, US, UK, and India.

    Anja Manuel

    Anja Manuel is a principal at RiceHadleyGates Inc.She is also a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and teaches in Stanford’s International Policy Studies program. She is a member of the Aspen India Strategy Group; a member of the board of advisors of the Center for a New American Security; and serves on the board of the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative.Ms. Manuel graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, and holds both an M.A. and B.A. with distinction from Stanford University.

    Henna Inam

    Henna Inam is the Global Head for e-Innovation for Novartis. Ms. Inam is an experienced General Manager and CMO, who combines strategic thinking and brand-building capabilities of a P&G heritage, with the passion and people skills to drive results.

    Haris Khan

    Haris Khan is Co-CEO and Co-Founder of the Technology Services firm, Zigron Inc. He is responsible for Zigron’s Product Strategy and User Experience Services. He also works with early stage startups to pursue joint and solo startup ventures.

    Ikram U. Khan, M.D.

    Ikram U. Khan is a board member of the US Institute of PEace as well as a fellow of the American Institute of Health Care Quality. He is a recipient of U.S. Presidential Recognition for “Steadfast Devotion to Health & Well Being of Patients” in January 2000 and a “Special Congressional Recognition for Invaluable Community Service in 1994.” Dr Khan has also served on various State Boards and Commissions where he received several national and state recognitions for his professional and community services. Khan earned his doctor of medicine and surgery degree at the University of Karachi, where he specialized in the field of forensic medicine, ophthalmology and pathology.

    Jane Wales

    Jane Wales is the President & CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, host of the nationally-syndicated National Public Radio interview show It’s Your World and Co-Founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum.

    Kashif Zafar

    Kashif Zafar is Managing Director at Barclays, U.K. Before 2009, Mr. Zafar was based in New York, where he was at Barclays, USA for over 3 years. Prior to joining Barclays, Mr. Zafar worked for a number of years at Credit Suisse.

    Kavita Ramdas

    Kavita N. Ramdas is the Representative for the Ford Foundation’s office serving India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In addition to this role, she continues to be involved with the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford where she serves as the Chair of the Global Practitioner Council. The program brings social change innovators to campus twice a year.

    Nasser A. Ahmad

    Nasser A. Ahmad is co-founder, chief investment officer, and managing partner of DiMaio Ahmad Capital, a New York-based asset management company. Nasser has also served as managing director of Credit Suisse Capital and chief investment officer for the Direct Credit Hedge Fund Group. He was co-head of Global Cash and Derivatives Credit Trading within the Fixed Income Division at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). Nasser received a B.S. and an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also serves on the board of the Soros Economic Development Fund.

  • Board of Directors
  • Board of Directors

    The DIL Board of Directors develops strategic goals and program initiatives; reviews and approves annual plans and budgets; assists in expanding outreach, visibility and donor support; and monitors the progress of the organization.

    Muhammad Shahzad, Chairperson

    Muhammad is a member of the Technology, Media & Telecom Investment Banking Division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Prior to joining the firm in 2009, Muhammad founded his own technology company and also worked at Accenture and Deutsche Bank.

    Fiza Shah, Founder and CEO

    Fiza Shah founded Developments in Literacy (DIL) in 1997. Under her leadership, the organization has successfully provided quality education to tens of thousands of children and invested in the professional development of Pakistan’s teaching force.

    Shahzad Bashir

    Shahzad Bashir is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Morae Global Corporation with almost 3 decades of experience in legal and financial consulting services. Shahzad has served on the board at Shifa Health USA, Asia Society, and Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.

    Mohammed Ali Dhanani

    Mohammed Ali Dhanani received his MBA from the University of Houston in 1990, at which time he joined his father and 5 brothers in the family business. At the time they were involved in gasoline distribution, retail, and real estate. Since he joined the business the company has continued to experience tremendous growth. Dhanani and his brothers continue to carry on his father’s legacy by running the business together. Ali oversees the gasoline and restaurants portion of the business, though being a family owned and operated business, he wears many hats as the brothers take a hands-on approach to management. Though his hands are full he still finds time for family and charity. Muhammad is involved in DIL and Operation Smile, from which he and his wife received the 2017 John Connor Humanitarian Award. He has been a DIL supporter since the Houston Chapter began. He spends his time outside of work with his wife of 25 years, Habiba, and his three children. He has a 22-year-old daughter, a 21-year-old son and a 6-year-old son.

     Wajid Mirza

    Wajid A. Mirza is a seasoned management and information technology consultant with over 20 years of experience of working with Fortune 500 companies in Utilities, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, Automotives, Consumer Goods, and Waste Disposal industries. Mr. Mirza has a background with a Big 4 Consulting firm and an MBA from a top Business School. He has demonstrated leadership qualities, supported by a solid track record of managing large, complex projects.

    Najmi Sarwar

    Najmi Akram Sarwar has worked for ten years at AT&T as an engineer & product manager and then later as a VP at Citibank in New York. She has served on the board of the International YMCA and is a partner of the Acumen Fund. She is currently based in Hong Kong and led the establishment of DIL’s Hong King affiliate.

    Ehsan Zaffar

    Ehsan Zaffar is an educator, advocate and public servant who builds resilient communities by increasing trust and transparency in governments, non-profits and private enterprise. He serves as a senior advisor on civil rights and civil liberties issues at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington D.C. where he advises the Secretary of Homeland Security and DHS components on the civil rights and civil liberties implications of existing and proposed national security policies, programs, and procedures.

    He has previously served as a liaison to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standing Committee on National Security Law and as Vice-Chair of the ABA’s Section of International Law (Asia/Pacific Committee). Mr. Zaffar is an adjunct member of the faculties of Washington College of Law at American University, John Marshall Law School, George Mason University, and George Washington University. He teaches courses on homeland security policy, as well as privacy and surveillance law. He has lectured to audiences on these issues in Spain, Greece,  Indonesia, Norway and Pakistan.

    Prior to government service, Mr. Zaffar worked on human rights and rule of law issues in post-disaster and post-conflict environments both domestically and abroad. Mr. Zaffar is a panel mediator on national security and civil rights matters with the Agency for Dispute Resolution. In addition to his board service with DIL, he serves on the board of advisors at the Amani Institute, a social entrepreneurship curriculum training institute in Kenya.

    His book Understanding Homeland Security: Foundations of Security Policy will be published in late 2016 by Routledge Press.

    Shaila Zamir

    Ameena Mohyuddin Zia

    Ameena Mohyuddin Zia is a former Adjunct Professor at City University of New York (York College) in New York City. Her teaching areas included Social Change & Development, Social Stratification, and Inclusion & Development. She currently serves as a Civil Society Consultative Representative to the United Nations ECOSOC & the UN Consultant for American Pakistan Foundation. Ameena spearheads the APF@UN initiative which is the first of its kind that brings together Pakistan civil society (NGOs, academia, private sector) in the promotion of the SDGs.

    Ameena has also served as a Political Appointee in the Executive Cabinet of St. Louis County Government (State of Missouri) and worked on immigrant integration and inclusive economic and social initiatives. Ameena developed and spearheaded multiple integration initiatives including the Immigration and Innovation Policy Analysis Sub-Committee and the County Executive’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Immigration Outreach and Relations; participated in the Executive Development Initiative of St. Louis County centered on strategic policy development issues of aging in place; concentration of poverty and the emerging millennial population.

    At the United Nations, Ameena has served as: the Access Subcommittee Co-Chair for the 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference to be held in South Korea, May 2016; presenter, moderator and panel organizer at CSocD54 in New York; delegate at the WSIS+10 (engaged in written statement and oral discussion); participant and engaged in discussions at UNGA 2nd Committee Informal Consultations; invited as an civil society speaker at the High Level Political Forum; and a delegate at the 65th Annual NGO/DPI conference; and delegate at the historic 70th UNGA. Ameena also serves as a policy writer for The Red Elephant Foundation which serves as a bridge between the empowered and the yet-to-be-empowered section in society towards inclusion.