Bangladeshi-American to head think tank that advocates for “an equal say” and “equal chance”

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Sabeel Rahman, a Bangladeshi-American, has been appointed president of Demos, a New York-based think tank, starting September 2018. (Photo: demos.org)

New York, NY – Demos, a New York-based public policy organization, announced July 17, that it has chosen an attorney of Bangladeshi heritage to lead the organization starting September.

Sabeel Rahman joins Demos from Brooklyn Law School, where he is an Associate Professor of Law, and previously a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.

“At this critical juncture in American history, we face an existential struggle over the very idea of we the people: who counts as a member of the polity, and what does that membership entail,” Rahman is quoted saying in a press release. “As an unapologetically progressive and deeply values-driven organization, and as a unique institution that combines work in advocacy, campaigns, public narrative, research, public policy and litigation, Demos is singularly well-positioned to shape the politics and policy of the moment. I look forward to deepening Demos’ work to develop and advance over-the-horizon ideas to create an equitable economy and an inclusive democracy,” Rahman added.

“I could not be more pleased with the decision to select Sabeel Rahman as the next president of Demos. He’s a thought leader who has written and taught about the issues of democracy and equity that are central to Demos’ mission, and a practitioner who has worked with some of Demos’ most important partners and funders. Sabeel brings just what we were looking for in a new leader,” said Amelia Warren Tyagi, chair of Demos’ Board of Trustees.

Demos describes Rahman’s 2017 book, Democracy Against Domination, as “an award-winning argument about how mainstream liberalism has failed to address the problems of economic power in the post-financial crisis era, and offers a framework for tackling these structural inequities.” Rahman has written on issues of race, inequality, economic power, and building an inclusive democracy, with articles appearing in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Boston Review, The American Prospect and elsewhere.

He has also worked with grassroots organizations, foundations and policymakers including as the Design Director for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Gettysburg Project; In 2014 and 2015, he served as a senior advisor in New York’s City Hall, to help create an economic development agenda; and was previously a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and New America.

A child of Bangladeshi immigrants, Demos says, “Sabeel has a personal understanding of the challenges that face our nation.”

The leaders of several national organizations and well-known foundations are quoted in the press release endorsing Rahman’s choice to lead Demos including Larry Kramer, president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Martha Minow, former dean of Harvard Law School, Gara Lamarch, president of The Democracy Alliance, and Heather McGhee and Miles Rapoport, former presidents of Demos.

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