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Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed


Decoloniality in Design: From “Human” to “Humility-centered” frameworks

Taking a decolonial approach to design necessitates looking elsewhere for inspiration. For me, this has always come from the Global South, particularly in my interaction with indigenous and traditional wisdom frameworks deeply rooted in my Motherland, Pakistan. Diving deeper into these framings has resulted in a shift in my design approach from more “human-centered” approaches, to more “humility-centered” ones. My presentation will explore examples of what more regenerative, land-based, in some cases faith-based, “humility-centered” approaches to design can look like.

About Maryam

Maryam is a runaway lawyer, serial social entrepreneur and social innovation evangelist. Her work centers ‘dialogues of wisdoms’ and explorations around alternate ways of knowing, doing and being to decolonize social innovation and entrepreneurship. Maryam believes in enabling innovators to trigger transformative change in themselves and their communities, and through that process co-create more equitable, regenerative systems. 

Maryam previously co-founded the Social Innovation Lab, a social innovation ecosystem builder in South Asia and Daftarkhwan, a series of co-working spaces in Pakistan, alongside starting a number of impact focused initiatives. She is also an Acumen Fellow, an International Youth Foundation Laureate Global Fellow, and holds a LL.M. in International Law from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Maryam is currently a Senior Fellow at Social Innovation Canada supporting their Financialization of Housing Lab, a Senior Consultant at the Center for Social Innovation, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Foresight Canada, and pursuing a Doctoral degree in Sustainability Management at the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment.  

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