Dr. Witte holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from Beloit College. He is currently a Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, where he is also Director of the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR) and Director of the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR). Previously he has held academic appointments at Clemson University, Northwestern University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Witte’s expertise speaks to two of the APF’s priorities: advancing development in Pakistan and strengthening the Pakistani-American community. With regard to the former, in the past five years he has made ten trips to Pakistan as part of collaborative projects with the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad and the Department of Public Administration at the University of Karachi (UoK). Both collaborations seek to build social science research capacity in Pakistan with an eye to improving evidence based planning and decision-making. With support from the Fulbright Specialist Program, Dr. Witte has given a series of workshops at NUST on research methods. He has also successfully brokered a Memorandum of Understanding between NUST and Mason, through which NUST scholars will come to Mason to earn doctoral degrees in the social sciences.
According to Dr. Witte, “This is a win-win arrangement-it aids NUST’s faculty development program since tuition will be charged at the in-state rate, while Mason attracts a cohort of highly talented and motivated graduate research assistants.” With the UoK, Dr. Witte was co-investigator on a three-year U.S. Department of State funded University Partnership to explore issues related to the administration and management of mega-cities. This project included the design and implementation of surveys with nearly 2,000 households in Karachi exploring experiences and issues related to water and sanitation, transportation, health, education, and youth development.
In his role as Director of the IIR, Dr. Witte’s work directly addresses the latter priority, strengthening the Pakistani-American community. The IIR’s primary mission is to refocus the immigration conversation by producing and disseminating unbiased, objective, and interdisciplinary research related to immigrants and immigration in the U.S. An important theme of this work highlights the economic, civic and cultural contributions of all immigrants to the U.S., which entails a close look at the Pakistani diaspora.
Regarding joining the APF Board, Dr. Witte said, “I see enormous potential in the opportunity to work with such an energetic and enthusiastic group of individuals and organizations, who recognize the immediate need to strengthen the ties between the two countries. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is vital to peace and prosperity not only in Pakistan and the U.S., but in the region and beyond.”
“Dr. Witte’s experience in Pakistan and research on the Pakistani-American community will grant APF with valuable insight as we grow and evolve,” notes APF Board Chair, Riaz Siddiqi, “We are pleased to welcome such a passionate and dedicated scholar to our board.”