E2S10: Thriving in the civil society space with Aniqa Nawabi

Summary & Key Takeways

Is there a secret sauce or the right formula to becoming a thriving civil society leader?

In Episode 2, Craig and Catalina sat down with Aniqa Nawabi who is the Executive Director of the Muslim Community Network .

Aniqa shared her insights working for more than 2 decades in the social impact sector, helping to build innovative programming supporting local and international change in a wide variety of sectors. This will include the skills needed to build a high-impact community based organization such as fundraising, communication, actions, and of course patience.

She discussed the importance of building creative partnerships with a range of sectors and organizations, how to measure the impact of one’s work and also how to balance between funders and communities. 


Aniqa Nawabi is a nonprofit and public policy professional who brings nearly a decade of experience in non-profit management and policy. She serves as the Muslim Community Network’s, Executive Director. 

At MCN, Aniqa helped grow the organization’s programmatic footprint to include both a citywide and international presence with the launch of an international interfaith engagement for Muslim youth focused on peacebuilding and conflict resolution. She is also building out the organization to be one of the premier interfaith engagement and direct service institution for the Muslim community. 

Prior to joining MCN, Aniqa served as the Director of Development at Chhaya Community Development Corporation, an anti-poverty non-profit organization that works on the housing and immigrant rights of the South Asian community in New York City. As the lead fundraiser, she raised a budget of $1 million+ each year and helped expand and grow Chhaya’s reach among the individual donor and institutional funder landscape in New York City. 

She first started her career as an Assistant Research Scholar at New York University where she worked under the former Senior Economic Advisor to the President of Afghanistan and studied post-conflict states and worked on international development projects in Afghanistan and the Middle East. As an immigrant from Bangladesh and growing up as a Muslim American teenager in Queens, New York, she saw firsthand the struggles Muslim communities face in the post-9/11 era. Aniqa grew up in Germany and South Africa before coming to the United States and holds a Masters in Public Administration degree from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and a B.A. from the City University of New York-Queens College. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Business of Nonprofit Management at New York University. She is a mother of two, an avid traveler, and speaks Bengali, Hindi, and Farsi.

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