Get to Know Parvez

Interviewed by Inside UNF on November 2008.

Name: Parvez Ahmed
Department: Accounting and Finance
Job: Associate Professor of Finance
Years at UNF: 6

What was the best money you ever spent?
Last year my wife and I made our first pilgrimage to the Muslim holy city of Mecca to fulfill our religious obligation of performing the Hajj (pilgrimage). It was indeed a journey of a lifetime. The trip was spiritually uplifting and also from a worldly perspective very eye opening. Not only did we understand the historical perspectives of the faith of Islam, we also took time to study the social and political conditions causing so many challenges in the Muslim world.

If you won the lottery, what would do with the money?
I do not play the lottery. As a financial economist, I know that the cost of a lottery ticket exceeds the probability-weighted expected value of the payoff. So why overpay for an asset?

What is the best thing you ever won?
During my undergraduate days, in addition to being a student of engineering, I used to take part in drama and theatre. I won an award for the best drama production at my university.

Tell us something about you that even your friends don’t know:
My love of poetry. I not only like English poetry (favorite American poets Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson), but also indulge in poetry in Bengali, Urdu and Hindi (three major languages of India, where I was born). My other favorite poets are Rabindranath Tagore and Muhammad Iqbal.

Tell us about your family:
I have two children, ages 7 and 11. My wife home-schools them. I was born in India. Both my parents live in Calcutta.

What person had the greatest impact on your life?
My dad. From him I learned the value of giving back to society. He is a physician in India, and he spends most of his spare time helping orphans.

What are you most passionate about?
Besides academic research, writing opinion editorials about Islam and the American Muslim experience.

What is your favorite thing about working at UNF?
Generally speaking, small class size allows me to get to know my students better. I like to help them not just with academic work, but also offer help as a career adviser. Small class size also creates opportunities for more interactive teaching, which is challenging and stimulating.

If you could choose any other career, what would it be and why?
I like what I do. I have never contemplated having another career. But if I were forced to choose then I would perhaps like to be a human rights lawyer or advocate. I am passionate about universal human rights. I find the advocacy of those rights intellectually quite challenging, as it requires addressing prejudices and stereotypes in creative ways.

What would you like to do when you retire?
Write books that promote mutual understanding between cultures and societies.

If you were not working at UNF, what would you be doing?
Working for some think-tank, writing policy papers.

What is your favorite way to blow an hour?
Watch football.

Who is the most famous person you ever met?
Barack Obama. I met him during one of his recent visits to Jacksonville.

What do you hope to accomplish that you have not done yet?
Help my children realize their dreams.

What was the first concert you ever attended, and what was the most recent concert you attended?

The first concert I attended was in India. My mom took me to a classical music concert. The most recent concert I attended was also a concert on Indian classical music, but this time the concert was held in America. The great Ali Akbar Khan, considered the National Living Treasure of India, was playing a quintessentially Indian instrument called the sarod.

Last book read:
“Inside Egypt – The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution” by John R. Bradley