Zeba Ahmed flies into Pittsburgh from Japan just in time for graduation after studying abroad in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture during spring semester 2014. A short four months later, she will return to Japan to take up her recently awarded Fulbright Research Assistantship.
The Fulbright grant allows Zeba to conduct ethnographic research on the roles that Japanese community-based organizations and nonprofits play in fostering a sense of community. She will explore the ways that these organizations serve as third spaces—places that are not home or work—for social interaction.
“Residents often lack social bonds with their neighbors and withdraw into their personal lives,” says Zeba Ahmed, describing the need for third spaces. “It is most prevalent in communities where the majority of residents are newcomers rather than the traditional, stable intergenerational mix of people.”
Zeba Ahmed graduates from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese and Sociology and a Certificate in Asian Studies. Following her Fulbright research, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in East Asian Studies.