PhD student

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Staff profile

Jamila studies how development interventions can improve human well-being in food systems without eroding cultural and agricultural bio-diversity

Profile summary

  • Biocultural diversity
  • Poverty traps
  • Food
  • Development
  • Agricultural biodiversity
  • Mountain social-ecological systems
  • Resilience assessment

Jamila Haider is a PhD candidate studying the relationship between persistent poverty and biocultural diversity. Her PhD explores how development interventions can improve human well-being without eroding the cultural and agricultural bio-diversity that makes a given place unique and is important for global resilience.

Her interests also include: assessing resilience, stewardship, integrating knowledge systems, and early-career journeys in sustainability science.

Jamila also works part-time as a programme officer with SwedBio, where she coordinates “Communities Self-Assessing Resilience” initiative.

More specifically her PhD:

  1. Synthesises characteristics of persistent maladaptive situations (e.g. poverty traps) and proposes a nuanced social-ecological conceptualisation (through a literature review)
  2. Shows how nature and culture must be explicitly considered, in addition to physical capital assets in poverty trap models, if poverty is to be eradicated without negative environmental and cultural impacts (through a generalised systems model)
  3. Compares human responses to social-ecological traps (using the sociological concept of anomie)
  4. Investigates how co-evolutionary relationships in everyday practice are affected by a hybrid seed in the Pamir Mountains (participatory observation, interviews, cooking)
  5. (Re-)imagines what progress (or development) in the Pamir Mountains look like for different people and organizations (idem)
  6. Uses food as a research method, and as part of development practice

Prior to starting her PhD at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Jamila completed her Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge in Geographical Research. As part of the Political Ecology group, her thesis used Elinor Ostrom’s social-ecological systems framework to assess institutional governance of joint forestry management in Tajikistan.

Jamila worked from 2009-2011 as an international development practitioner. As International Development Management Fellow with the Aga Khan Foundation, she worked as a natural resource management program officer in Tajikistan, and then went on to support the management of a cross-border programme between Tajikistan and Afghanistan with Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan. From 2010-2011 she held the position of national coordinator for the Land and Water Unit for the same organisation, based in Kabul.

Jamila has Bachelor degrees in Biology and Political Science (Development Studies focus) from Carleton University, where her Honour’s thesis focused on community based natural resource management in South-East Madagascar.

Additionally, Jamila is a member of:

  • International Network of Resource Information Centers also known as the ‘Balaton Group’ is a global group generating new research, action and solutions for sustainability. Since 2012, Jamila has been on the Board of Directors of the Balaton Group
  • Social Ecological Systems Scholars, an open group of early career researchers sharing experiences and research on issues of sustainability science
  • SES-LINK, a project at SRC which looks at the nature of social-ecological linkages and their implication for the resilience of human-environment systems
  • Agricultural Biodiversity Community, and was part of the steering committee from 2013-2014
  • Mountain Sentinels research group, an international research coordination network composed of teams of mountain scientists and stakeholders engaged in knowledge co-creation and practice

Jamila is also the author of “With Our Own Hands: A celebration of food and life in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.” The book received media attention beyond academia, won a Gourmand Award: World’s Best Cookbook (2016), and is currently being turned into a documentary film. Her cook book has also recived media attention from various outlets, such as BBC.

Awards and achievements:

  • Gourmand Award: World’s Best Cookbook 2016 for “With Our Own Hands”
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship (University of Cambridge)
  • Donella Meadows Fellowship (The Balaton Group)
  • Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement (Carleton University)

Radhika Gupta, MSc candidate


Publications by Haider, Jamila

Haider, Jamila

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201