I grew up in Hunza, a rural mountainous, and agrarian village located in Gilgit-Baltistan, northern Pakistan, where I experienced first-hand the debilitating effects of climate-induced changes and related disasters on our community’s way of life and residents’ livelihoods. With each passing year, communities in the region have become increasingly susceptible to natural disasters such as glacial lake outburst floods, flash floods, landslides, and snow avalanches. These disasters have negatively impacted the region’s socioeconomic landscape, stifling both sustainable development and undermining poverty-reduction initiatives. These challenges have motivated me to pursue a Ph.D. in Earth and Climate Sciences at Duke University to better understand the nature and scope of the hazard vulnerabilities as well as approaches such as nature-based adaptation and resilience-building to reduce the hazard risk of this and other marginalized mountain communities.
Within the major research areas of a Ph.D. in Earth and Climate Science, my specialized interest is studying the impacts of climate-induced changes and related disasters on health, socioeconomic conditions, and livelihood sources of remote mountain communities in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. My overarching research goal is to develop a planetary health framework for mountain communities in the Himalayan Range to reduce hazard risk and disaster losses. Under the umbrella of this framework, I aim to accomplish three to four research projects during my Ph.D. My first-year proposed project will examine the correlation between climate-related disasters and the mental health of mountain communities in Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Pakistan. The next three proposed projects will emerge based on the key findings of the first project. To this aim, I firmly believe that taking advantage of all the resources available at Duke will strengthen my communication, leadership, and technical skills to carry out cross-cutting research projects about the impacts of environmental changes on mountain communities’ well-being in the Himalaya. My academic training will also enable me to become a service-oriented professional to drive meaningful change at the community level.
Apart from my academics, I am interested in volunteering service for community empowerment. I love playing volleyball and love listening to music from different cultures.