Madeeha Mehmood is an experienced speaker and organizer who always stays plugged into her local community. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration and Policy at American University in Washington D.C., while at the same time working as Field Director with ‘Virginia Democrats’ for the 2020-election of Congresswoman Elaine Luria.
Madeeha has previously worked on the Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential Campaign as well as former US Ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford’s, campaign for Congress. Prior to that Madeeha worked with public affairs and communication in various government institutions, specializing in community-building events and social media campaigns.
Through her voluntary work in DFUNK, Red Cross Youth and the Danish Refugee Council, Madeeha has gained extensive knowledge about minority issues and social inclusion as well as knowledge about how to attract and work with external partners and organisations.
Madeeha has also been a member of the Humanity in Action Denmark Board before moving to the US in 2018.
“I identify a lot with my own generation. I am proud of what we have achieved and will continue to. But it warms my heart to see the next generation taking it to the next level.”
Madeeha gets her energy from other people, getting groups together and ensuring that everyone thrives. Wether it be working as a receptionist in a hotel, being a tour guide, being the social chairperson for the Military Spouses of Newport, or working on a political campaign. “Being this social and always loving other people’s company while having a desire to seek harmony and that everyone is doing well, I sometimes feel I have a 6th sense of other people’s emotions”, Madeeha explains.
Madeeha is a John Lewis Fellow from 2016 and the Fellowship in Atlanta was espacially impactful for her. She recalls Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado teaching her how to identify the “blueprint of a successful social movement and how to apply it to other causes. Madeeha has used this blueprint many times since in her work as an organizer and on political campaigns.
Another very impactful speaker was Rep. John Lewis. Lewis spoke to the Fellows about his own life and story and what had motivated him to keep fighting. Madeeha knew about the Civil Rights Movement and always thought of it as a huge success in terms of grassroot organizing, community work, outreach, politics, and activism. “These people had the entire country, system, laws, and people against them, and still they won. When the opportunity arose to learn from that movement, I had to participate.” Madeeha recalls.
“And most importantly, John Lewis explained to us what it meant to get in good trouble. I always remember that. ‘Good trouble’. It is probably the one thing from the Fellowship I have repeated the most.”
For her Action Project, Madeeha created “Dragoer Democracy Day 2016”. Dragoer Democracy Day was a big simulation, similar to Mock Court or the Model United Nations, where 200 9th grade students from the Danish city of Dragør got together and simulated political processes at the European Parliament. The topic on the agenda was the European refugee reception crisis.
Following the success of the project, Madeeha decided to start a consultancy firm that offered Democracy Day to other schools and has implemented a permanent program in three other schools. The company has been a huge success and after it was successfully off the ground, Madeeha began to seek out other opportunities. Madeeha joined the teams of two political campaigns: Rufus Gifford for Congress and Ged Carbone for Mayor in Warwick, Rhode Island, learning along the way the challenges and joys of grassroots campaigning.
On what inspires her, Madeeha says, “Keeping myself busy, always working to be a better person, learning new things and changing a bad habit. Young people inspire me. Those younger than me, fighting the Climate Change battle or for gun reform in the U.S., They have fire in their eyes. It is amazing to see. I worked on Bernie Sanders’ political campaign in the U.S. in 2015/2016 and I remember him talking about getting young people fired up. He certainly did.”
Updatet November 2020
More from Madeeha Mehmood
John Lewis Fellows Reflective Essays 2016
In the essays, the Fellows write about their experiences in the John Lewis program, delving into personal aspects of their own identities – such as national, ethnic, gender, racial or religious – and reveal ways in which participation in the program has shaped their personal outlooks.
Successful Social Movements – A Blueprint
Democracy Day, EU and the Refugee Crisis
Senior Fellow Madeeha Mehmood took what she learned from her John Lewis Fellowship and created educational simulations for high school students back in Denmark, enlightening them about democracy, compromise, and the power of media and activists. She strives to light a "fire in their eyes."
How new technology is changing your life
Senior Fellow Madeeha Mehmood research on emerging technologies was published in Forskerzonen.