Ms. Mariam Rafique Vadria's Profile

Ms. Mariam R. Vadria is an aspiring social change maker and researcher. She completed her Master’s in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University in 2016 as a Fulbright Scholar. She has worked in the areas of economics and social sciences research, data collection and analysis, social network analysis and non-profit management. Recently, she worked with a technological nonprofit funded by the World Bank in Tanzania to evaluate a city-mapping project and with the Secondary Healthcare system of the Punjab Government as a data partner. Currently, she is a Research Manager with the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan where she focuses on a research that looks at the effects of tertiary education on Pakistani youth.

Mariam wants to contribute to the data and information for social good movement in South Asia and Middle East, helping bridge the gap in information access and digital progress in this part of the world. She has co-founded a social initiative called the Karachi Public Library Project which works to revive library spaces in Karachi, and improve their functionality as information and community hubs.


Information Access at Libraries – Have Lincoln Corners Broken Barriers?

There are several hypotheses regarding how our current situation in Pakistan makes a case defending deteriorating libraries. These include information overload due to internet/social media, sedentary lifestyles indicating more need for physical exercise and activities vs. reading books, low literacy levels decreasing priority for books, and the urgent need to focus on other public services like water, health availability. Yet, it can be reasonably argued that the right to information access is an essential citizen right, curtailed by lack of functional libraries. Libraries in fact also play an important role in binding communities, increasing tolerance, and showing gradual positive impacts on human development, as documented by Sustainable Development Goals – a role more or less missing in policy and action in the Pakistan scenario. Yet, USAID in partnerships with local governments has been able to successfully launch Lincoln Corners – progressive spaces in conventional libraries acting as community hubs for learning, reading and socializing.

This presentation will make a case for Lincoln Corners, especially in Karachi, visualizing their impact and potential for scaling up this model as a policy for libraries’ revival in Karachi – and Pakistan. This presentation will add to the variety of other talks speaking about Pakistan-U.S. friendship and collaboration. It will emphasize on the importance of libraries in U.S. communities and models of community social enterprises we can pick for our local scenario.

Ms. Mariam Rafique Vadria
Research Manager
Center for Economic Research in Pakistan

Fulbright Master’s
Columbia University




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