Meet the Researchers

Asad Kamran Ghalib

Photo of Asad Ghalib

Research Area: International development, in general and more specifically, assessing the socio-economic impact of social protection models

What is it like being a researcher?

My research deals with people and their livelihoods. I get to meet a lot of people from diverse social, cultural and economic backgrounds and each one has a different story to tell. This leads to a phenomenal variety in my work and contrary to what people generally assume about research, is not monotonous at all.

What is the best thing about being a researcher/your job?

My work has taken me to such remote places of the world where I would have never been able to go, had it not been for my research. Fieldwork has always been both rewarding and enlightening. During interviews, respondents tend to narrate elaborate stories from their lives. As each person is different, the immense diversity that ensues makes the work even more fascinating. Moreover, it provides me and others the wonderful opportunity to read interesting works such as Alex Count’s ‘Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammed Yunus and Microfinance are Changing the World’ and Mary Iskenderian’s ‘Fighting Poverty One Loan at a Time’ and Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s ‘Poor Ecoonmics’ (works from which the photograph’s caption draw inspiration). Such writings give an entirely different dimension to the world of human development and contribute to the immense diversity of both my job and research.

If you could go back in time which scientist/researcher/historical figure would you like to meet and what would you ask them?

I would rewind the clock to 1867, meet Mark Twain and ask him to take me along on his expedition on board the Quaker City vessel through Europe and the Holy Land: the cruise that resulted in Mark Twain authoring The Innocents Abroad which, till today is classed as among the bestselling travel books of all time.

What do you do in your free time?

In whatever time I find spare, I travel. It is a passion through which I discovered the riches that exist in the many unique and fascinating cultures of the world, and the immense beauty and variety that nature has to offer. It is through these travels that I developed a sometimes overwhelming passion for all things in life, great and small.

What discovery or invention could you not live without?

The wheel – a very old, yet reliable invention that still makes the world go round!

What do you think is the most important thing yet to be discovered/invented?

An end to poverty, both social and economic.