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Adjunct Lecturer at the Crown School of Social Work, Policy and Practice, University of Chicago

Ameya Pawar is the former alderman of Chicago’s 47th Ward and the first (and only) Asian and Indian American elected to the Chicago City Council. While in office, Ameya focused legislative efforts around social justice, worker rights, and economic justice. To this end, Ameya led most all labor policy and worker rights legislation passed in Chicago between 2011-2019, including raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing paid sick leave, creating the Office for Labor Standards, combating wage theft, and preserving housing for Chicago’s most vulnerable. Ameya also chaired the Chicago Resilient Families Task Force before leaving office, the nation's first city-led effort to study guaranteed income, the expansion of the earned income tax credit, and the future of work.

Ameya is currently a senior fellow at the Economic Security Project and is working on narrative change efforts around guaranteed income and public options, including public banks. In 2020, Ameya was named a Leadership in Government Fellow with the Open Society Foundations (OSF). His OSF work focuses on public banking and public options with leading figures and organizations across the country and world. In addition, Ameya is a senior adviser to The Academy Group, a Chicago-based social enterprise working to break the racial wealth gap, and is a lecturer at the Crown School for Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago. He is also a special adviser at the UChicago Inclusive Economy Lab.

Ameya is a US State Department Critical Language Program alum, a 2012 University of Illinois Edgar Fellow, and was named to Crain’s Chicago 40 under 40 in 2011. In 2018, he was named a McCormick Foundation Executive Fellow and was a Fall 2018 Pritzker Fellow at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics

Ameya is an expert on the connections between disaster planning and response and poverty. In 2014, Ameya co-wrote the textbook “Emergency Management and Social Intelligence: A Comprehensive All-Hazards Approach.” The book was published by Taylor & Francis. He is currently writing Organize Capital: The Case for Public Banks for the UChicago Press.


  • 2019–present
    Lecturer, University of Chicago
  • 2019–present
    Senior Fellow, Economic Security Project
  • 2020–present
    Leadership in Government Fellow, Open Society Foundations
  • 2020–present
    Special Adviser, UChicago Inclusive Economy Lab
  • 2019–present
    Senior Adviser, The Academy Group
  • 2011–2019
    Alderman, City of Chicago