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Portrait of a Giving Community: Philanthropy by the Pakistani-American Diaspora (Studies in Global Equity)

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0674023666
ISBN-10: 0674023668
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Editorial Reviews


A fascinating snapshot of immigration and assimilation in the context of the "War on Tenor" and the conflation of Islamic charities with terrorist activity. It throws a light on how Pakistani-Americans, a community often feared, maligned and otherwise misunderstood in the United States, address the twin questions of "What does it mean to be an American?" and "What does it mean to be a global citizen?" It also makes one consider the vast untapped potential to garner financial support for social development and poverty alleviation in the developing world from diaspora communities and individuals who think and act globally and locally. (A. A. Lund-Chaix Voluntas 2007-01-01)

About the Author

Adil Najam is a Professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Global Equity
  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674023668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674023666
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,976,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Saleem Ali on October 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
A recent study of charitable giving from the Pakistani diaspora in the United States, authored by Professor Adil Najam under the auspices of the Global Equity project at Harvard University, concludes that Pakistani-Americans are a "generous, giving and active community". Using a detailed survey of over 400 individuals across America and a series of focus group sessions, Dr. Najam and his colleagues have assembled a useful research product. While the sample may not be statistically large enough to establish clear causality across the entire diaspora, it is representative of the overall texture of the community and can provide some useful directions for further inquiry.

In addition to lucid graphs and analyses of underlying motivation for philanthropy, the book also provides a rare historical profile of the South Asian community in America, which can be traced back to 1790 when William Bentley recorded an unnamed "Man from Madras" on the streets of Salem, Massachusetts. The rapid influx of Pakistanis in the middle of twentieth century is, however, most consequential for current philanthropic trends. One of the key findings of the study is that 62% of the respondents reported that religious obligation was of "high or "very high" importance in their reason for charity. A slightly higher percentage gave motivational importance to "helping others in need" (79%) and "helping family and friends" (69%).

The report also has some sobering news for the Pakistani government. About half of the respondents stated clearly that their contribution would be higher if they had more trust in institutional support across Pakistan that assured them that their contributions were being put to good use.
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