As Islamic Relief Worldwide announces the appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer, Waseem Ahmad pledges to lead the charity in increasing our positive impact across the globe. 

Experienced humanitarian practitioner Waseem Ahmad takes up his new position at the helm of the world’s leading Muslim humanitarian organisation on Monday 17 May. He leaves behind his role as our Director of International Programmes, a post he held with distinction for nearly 6 years. Under his leadership, our humanitarian and development programmes reached over 9.5 million people in 31 countries last year alone.  

Waseem is a constant champion of programme qualityhaving led a team that secured and retained the coveted Core Humanitarian Standard certification. He has also been pivotal in forming and strengthening partnerships with a host of key institutional donors. 

With Waseem Ahmad as CEO, Islamic Relief will benefit from having a hugely experienced aid and development practitioner at the helm in this next chapter of our story,” says Dr Ihab M.H. Saad, Chair of Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Board of Trustees. “With strong personal and professional integrity, Waseem comes from one of the communities we serve in South Asia and has extensive field experience.  

As a person of faith and of high professional standards, our new CEO is passionate about integrating Islamic humanitarian principles with contemporary humanitarian approaches – and well equipped to do so. I look forward to working closely with him to further build and strengthen the work of this great organisation for the benefit of those we serve.” 

Decades of distinguished humanitarian service 

Waseem’s distinguished humanitarian track record spans decades of service in the UK, Malawi, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  

He began working for Islamic Relief over 20 years ago, starting his career in humanitarian and development work  as Programme Officer in the Balochistan province of southwestern Pakistan then becoming Head of Programmes in Pakistan before moving to Oxfam and Tearfund. Waseem returned to Islamic Relief in 2006 to establish our mission in Malawi, and has also worked for Lepra Health in Action. For the past 2 years he has been a member of the Start Network’s Board of Trustees. 

“The need for Islamic Relief’s work has never been greater, or more urgent,” says Waseem Ahmad. “The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening what were already huge, global challenges including hunger, violence against women and children, and the climate emergency. 

One more life lost to hunger or violence is one tragedy too many. As CEO I look forward to working with the dedicated Islamic Relief family of colleagues, volunteers and supporters to step up our efforts to end poverty and suffering. Together, we will continue to save and change lives around the world.” 

Ambitious to increase Islamic Relief’s positive impact still further 

Among Waseem’s priorities are developing our new global strategy and continuing the rollout of governance reforms. Campaigning for gender justice, pushing for climate justice, and ensuring local communities are at the heart of developing solutions are also high on his agenda. 

With a special interest in community mobilisation and infrastructure, Waseem has an MSc in Project Planning and Management from the University of Bradford in the UK and an MSc in Development Economics from Arid Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. 

Find out more about Islamic Relief’s new CEO in our Q&A with Waseem Ahmed. 

Tufail Hussain, who has provided valuable leadership as interim CEO since ill health forced the resignation of the previous incumbent Naser Haghamed, now resumes his role as Director of Islamic Relief UK. The interim Director of International Programmes is expected to be announced later this month.