Areas of interest

  • State Failure
  • Political Economy
  • Political Islam


Main Bio

Aisha Ahmad is a multiple award-winning International Security scholar specializing in jihadist insurgencies operating in complex civil wars. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, as well as the Director of the Islam and Global Affairs Initiative and a Senior Researcher at the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, a Senior Fellow at Massey College, a Fellow at Trinity College, a former International Security Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a newly elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists. 

With respect to her scholarship, Dr. Ahmad has published in leading journals and has won multiple prizes for her research. She is the author of Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power (Oxford University Press, 2017), which was awarded both the distinguished 2017 Mershon Center Furniss Award for the best new book in international and national security and the 2018 Best Book in Comparative Politics Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association, and was listed as one of the 2018 Best Books in Foreign Affairs. Her article, “The Security Bazaar,” published in the flagship journal International Security, won the 2017 Best Security Article Award from the International Studies Association. Her recent article “The Long Jihad: The Boom-Bust Cycle Behind Jihadist Durability” was awarded Best Article in the Journal of Global Security Studies for 2021. She he has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Iraq, and Lebanon, and has spent over a decade advising senior leaders in military, government, and international organizations on global security policy. She has also been “coined” by colonels and generals from multiple special branches of allied military and intelligence agencies. 

With respect to her teaching in the field of International Security, Dr. Ahmad is the 2018 winner of the Northrop Frye Award of Excellence for outstanding contributions to co-curricular learning and pedagogical innovation; this prize is awarded to one faculty member per year, across all three campuses, all disciplines, and academic ranks at the University of Toronto. She also won the 2018 University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus (UTSC) Assistant Professor Award for outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching at the Scarborough campus. In 2017, she was named one of Toronto’s “most inspiring women” of 2017 in Post City Magazine. In 2018, she was named the 2018 “Muslim Woman of the Year” at the Muslim Awards of Excellence MAX gala, which celebrates outstanding achievements by a Muslim Canadian in their field