About Nimmi

Nimmi Gowrinathan, PhD

Right Now:

I am currently a Visiting Professor at the Colin Powell Center for Civic and Global Leadership at City College, New York.

I will be directing the Politics of Sexual Violence Research Initiative, funded by the Novo Foundation.  I am also the Executive Producer for the Vice News Women in/at War Series currently in development.


I have tried, and continue to try, to take the lived experiences of women and insert them into multiple discourses and dialogues–highlighting insights with the potential to shift perspectives and policies.

As a humanitarian worker I have supported community-based organizations living and working in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and elsewhere through while Director of South Asia Programs at Operation USA. I have also facilitated collaboration between humanitarian and advocacy INGOs through local and international working groups.

As an advocate I have been the UN Representative for Operation USA as well as an expert analyst, conducting briefings at the United Nations, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Congress as well as for NGO collectives in the United States and abroad.

As a human rights researcher & policy analyst I have conducted field research, investigative interviews, and peace-building dialogues. This work has situated testimonies of women’s insecurities and political exclusion into relevant policy frameworks.

As a scholar I have examined the impact of militarization, displacement, and sexual violence on women’s political identities. I am also interested in the overlapping discourses of civilian agency and a critique of humanitarian aid and intervention.(PhD, Political Science. UCLA 2012). I have also hosted conferences drawing together scholars and practitioners to broadly examine the politics of aid (Columbia SIPA), as well as addressing specific issues like re-imagining refugee camps (Rockefeller Foundation).

As an activist I have been fortunate to work with deeply committed individuals and organizations. I have hosted workshops and lectures, mobilizing women within various South Asian Diasporas and connecting them to community-based projects abroad.

As a writer I have drawn on women’s stories to challenge perceptions in academic and policy spaces, while pulling out the richness of their narratives in nonfiction writings.