First Pakistani-American woman sworn-in as Mayor in New Jersey

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    Montgomery Committeewoman Sadaf Jaffer was on Jan. 3 sworn-in as the mayor of the township at its reorganization meeting, becoming the first South Asian woman mayor in New Jersey and the first Pakistani-American woman mayor in the U.S. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal initiated the oath of office.

    The Montgomery Township Committee consists of the Mayor and other four members of the Committee of Montgomery Township; having five members in total. The committee organizes during the first week in January, at which time it elects the mayor from among its members.

    As mayor Jaffer says she is ready to engage Montgomery residents in local governance and inspire a more connected, cohesive community. She will draw on the strength of Monty’s diversity as she represents her constituents, bringing practicality and vision her role.

     “To me, Montgomery is all about the people that make up our vibrant community,” Jaffer said.

    “I love attending local events, from the South Asian Charity Organization’s ‘Ootsave’ celebration to the strawberry festival hosted by the Boy Scouts”.

    Jaffer, who is a five-year resident of the township, was elected to the committee last year on the Democratic Party ticket. Sadaf is a scholar and activist focused on social justice and human rights with experience in cultural education and government service.

    She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in South Asian Studies at Princeton University where she teaches courses on South Asian, Islamic, and Asian American Studies. She serves on the Board of Directors for Art and Resistance through Education (ARTE), a nonprofit that promotes human rights education and youth development through the arts.

    She also serves as Somerset County director for the South Asian American Caucus of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee and was selected to be in the inaugural training class of Emerge New Jersey, the premier political training program for Democratic women. She has governmental experience working for the United States Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning and the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of South Asian Affairs.

    She earned her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and obtained her PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations with a secondary field in Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality from Harvard University.

    Above: Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker—D, with incoming Montgomery Township Mayor Sadaf Jaffer and her husband, Dan Sheffield, who teaches at Princeton in the Near Eastern Studies Department. Daughter, Zareen, 4, wants to be mayor too. The photo is from Jaffer’s swearing in ceremony for her township committee seat in Jan 2018.