Afshan Paarlberg, JD

Assistant Research Scholar, The Ihsan Standard Project Director

Afshan Paarlberg is a visiting assistant professor with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She is also pursuing her Ph.D. in philanthropic studies. Afshan’s research, publications, and practice focus on nonprofits, philanthropy, Muslim Americans, and forced migration.

Afshan holds a JD from The University of Houston Law Center. She also has a B.A. with Honors in Middle Eastern Studies and a B.B.A. in Finance, both from The University of Texas at Austin. In 2020, she was an inaugural Fellow with the Zakat Foundation Institute, obtaining a graduate certificate in Muslim philanthropic and humanitarian studies.


Her legal experience includes designing and implementing access to justice legal projects as well as governance, risk, and compliance measures for domestic and international nonprofits. Afshan also practiced immigration law for several years.

She is a social justice advocate. In 2008 before the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Afshan co-authored and co-presented a report highlighting domestic discrimination faced by Muslim and Arab Americans.


Afshan enjoys giving back to her communities. She serves as the president of a statewide refugee resettlement agency, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc. She is a board member of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and advisory board member to The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and its diversity taskforce.

She further holds membership with the International Society of Third Sector Research, American Bar Association, National Association of Muslim Lawyers, and the Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.