Zafar Imran is a research associate at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) conducting research on the role of climate change in imposing social and political stresses.
He completed his PhD in International Security and Economic Policy (ISEP) at the UMD School of Public Policy in 2019. His dissertation, titled “Climate change and political contention – A mechanism-based framework,” proposes a new theoretical framework to understand complex and emergent interactions between the effects of global climate change and social and political unrest. In addition to its theoretical contribution, the dissertation also completes a case-study of environmental and social dynamics in Pakistan and finds that “direct and indirect effects of climate change are interacting with the country’s political economy, and imposing social and political stresses to the extent of stoking a social movement organized and run by vulnerable farmers.”
Zafar is currently working to apply his framework to study climate-induced social and political stresses in other parts of the world. His research interests include research methods, contentious politics, and human behavior in response to climate change.
The School of Public Policy and the Graduate School of University of Maryland recognized Zafar’s original contribution to the field of climate-security by awarding him The Yamamoto-Scheffelin Endowment for Dissertation Research Award and the Charles A. Caramello Distinguished Dissertation Award respectively.
A native of Pakistan, Zafar also holds a Masters degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, as well as a Masters in Software Engineering and a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Pakistan.