Ameena M. Zia, PhD



Ameena serves as an NGO UN Representative at the Economic and Social Affairs Committee (ECOSOC) and is the Founder of Blue Ridge Consulting, a firm specializing in social impact in the development field for non-profit organizations and corporations. Her expertise centers on engagement through a multi-stakeholder approach in the core development community and beyond, and she has participated in high-level political forums and commissions.


With over 15 years of strategy consulting experience, Ameena has worked on securing minority representation and voice; spearheading strategic partnerships for change with stakeholders; conceptualizing and implementing nation-wide diaspora service projects; and collaborating with local, state, and national governments on outreach, engagement, and integration.

Blue Ridge Consulting facilitates the UN Experiential Fellowship, a free, selective, and unique virtual opportunity for US-based students to attend UN events around the world, receive lessons on development, and engage in mentorship sessions with notable academic leaders and government officials. Students will focus on development issues such as food insecurity and access to broadband (ICTs) in the United States.


As an Adjunct Professor at Virginia Tech, the City University of New York, and Philadelphia University, Ameena has focused on and taught criminal justice, social stratification, social deviance, political science, sustainable development, feminist theory, and social change.


Ameena has spoken at academic institutions such as Columbia University, University of Texas-Dallas, University of Pennsylvania, City University of New York, Philadelphia University, and East Carolina University. She has been interviewed as an expert for Voice of America Radio, Voice of America TV, ARY News, PIX 11 New York, NY Daily News, and Deutsche Welle News.


Ameena served as a political appointee in the Executive Cabinet of the St. Louis County Government. She worked on inclusive economic and social policy initiatives including the immigration and innovation policy analysis sub-committee; the Executive Development Initiative of St. Louis County centered on strategic policy development issues; concentration of poverty; and initiatives focused on the emerging millennial population. She spearheaded the formulation, adoption, and implementation of the Justice Services policy on religious headgear from the St. Louis County Executive's Office. The groundbreaking policy serves as a model for metropolitan municipalities across the United States.


Ameena received her Ph.D. in Political Science with a focus on Political Economy and Comparative Politics and her M.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri St. Louis, and an M.S. in Criminal Justice and B.A. in Political Science from East Carolina University. She is a three-time recipient of the NYC Mayoral Service award from Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for her strategy consulting work.


Ameena resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband, Dr. Yaseen Zia, Director of Radiation Oncology at UNC Pardee Hospital, and their three daughters, Lana, Eva, and Anna.