Jafreen Uddin

Executive Director


JAFREEN UDDIN was appointed EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the AAWW in January 2020. She is the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1991. With over a decade of experience working in the public sector, she specializes in communications, education, and fundraising.

She most recently served as Deputy Director of Development for Special Events with PEN America, managing a high-level portfolio of events and cultivation activities. Prior to joining PEN America, she helped oversee Executive Education as an Assistant Director with NYU’s Stern School of Business, developing and coordinating both degree and non-degree programming for cohorts of senior-level executives. She began her career with a nearly-eight-year stint at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she helped create the infrastructure for the public programming calendar of events, and spent nearly three years managing an online Book Salon for Aslan Media, spotlighting writers and artists from the greater Middle East/South Asia region. 

She regularly volunteers her time with a number of literary and social change organizations. She previously served as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Laal NYC, an organization supporting Bangladeshi women in the Bronx, and currently serves as Chair of the Adult Internship Committee for We Need Diverse Books and as a Literary Council Member for the Brooklyn Book Festival. She received her B.A. in political economics from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her M.A. in global history from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. 

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jafreenmu.

Interviews and Appearances

How Literary Nonprofits Got By in Tough Times—and What They Hope to See From Donors Now, Inside Philanthropy (July 8, 2021)

Conversations on Race & Gender: Radical Storytelling, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (June 23, 2021)

AAWW Fireside Chat with Wajahat Ali, Asian American Writers’ Workshop (June 15, 2021)

Literary Organizations & Asian American Activism, PEN America (May 25, 2021)

AAWW Fireside Chat with Piyali Bhattacharya, Asian American Writers’ Workshop (March 30, 2021)

The Best Books About Asian American Identity, According to Experts, The Strategist/New York Magazine (March 26, 2021)

Artists Reflect on What it Means to Make Good Trouble, National Endowment for the Arts Blog (February 24, 2021)

Anti-Asian American violence is prompting these women to speak out: ‘We still feel invisible’, The Lily/The Washington Post (February 18, 2021)

D’Ocean Vuong à Celeste Ng en passant par Charles Yu, l’émergence des écrivains asiatiques-américains, Le Monde (February 5, 2021)

Poignant Song: Author Kavita Das in conversation with Jafreen Uddin, Presented by the South Asia Institute (December 10, 2020)

AAWW Fireside Chat with R.O. Kwon, Asian American Writers’ Workshop (December 2, 2020)

What Does Racial Diversity Look Like in a Race-Specific Organization?, Presented by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation and the Asian American Arts Alliance (November 19, 2020)

Conversations that Matter: A Grant Spotlight on the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, National Endowment for the Arts Blog (July 21, 2020)

‘Turn back this wave of hate’: 100 writers call for an end to anti-Asian hostility, The Guardian (May 25, 2020)

Q&A: Uddin Takes the Helm at AAWW, Poets and Writers (April 8, 2020)

Being the First, Barnard Alumnae News (February 28, 2020)