Nafisa Isa

Nafisa Isa


Program Manager, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Nafisa Isa is a life-long learner, organizer, and advocate, currently Program Manager at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. She has been working on community development initiatives, building intentionally inclusive spaces, and promoting positive social change for the last 15 years. At the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Nafisa oversees planning and strategy for the Center’s programs, with a focus on fostering innovation, supervising digital strategy and implementing community-centered design for a diverse array of projects including the Center’s groundbreaking Culture Labs. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur and an organizer with Subcontinental Drift, a nationwide network of creative spaces promoting social awareness, expression, solidarity for the South Asian diaspora in the United States.  

Nafisa was previously Innovations and Program Manager for Busboys and Poets, a nationally-renowned, Washington DC brand, where she developed and facilitated programs, managed community partnerships, and initiated strategic shifts in digital engagement, operations and business development geared toward maximizing engagement and community-centered, positive branding. Prior to Busboys, Nafisa developed and managed professional exchange and cultural diplomacy programs for the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in the topical areas of arts for women’s empowerment, youth engagement, and community development.