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Hafsa Ahmed

“I'm originally from Lahore, Pakistan and joined NYU Abu Dhabi as an undergraduate in 2016. Since then I've had the opportunity to complete coursework in various disciplines, given the liberal arts curriculum of our university, in Uganda, UK, USA, Germany, and Jordan. My academic interests lie primarily in public health (in which I have completed a minor), anthropology, and qualitative social research. Outside of academics, I enjoy keeping up with current affairs and global politics, philosophy, community service in various capacities, spoken word, and table tennis.”

“My senior year capstone project focuses on the lived experiences of disabilities in the UAE. I have essentially set out on an ethnographic field research and have collected narratives from people with disabilities, their parents, siblings, special needs advocates, educators, and other relevant actors in the field to construct the day-to-day manifestation of disability in the UAE, among Emiratis and expats both. A key preliminary theme is that of language and how it impacts the way we as society perceive and interact with disabilities. The UAE is in a unique position with the institutionalisation of the term "people of determination" - an official label used for anyone with disabilities. In my talk, I would like to discuss perceptions, motivations, and implications pertaining that term and how it configures and reconfigures our conceptualisation about what it means to be (dis)abled in this society.”

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