Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time. Please check again after the summer.

Past events:

The Institute of Politics, Haymarket Books and
Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee present:

Omar Barghouti
On the Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights

With moderator and discussant:

Alice Rothchild, MD
Author, “Broken Promises, Broken Dreams”

Wednesday, April 13; 7:30-10:30 PM; Emerson Hall 105

After months of extended delays and an international public pressure campaign, the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has granted Omar Barghouti a visa to visit the United States.
Mr. Barghoti is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Mr. Barghouti will discuss his new book, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, which will be available for sale after the talk.

Cosponsored by Justice for Palestine at HLS, Middle East Law Students Association and GSAS Alliance for Justice in the Middle East.


The Islamic Legal Studies Program and Center for Middle Eastern Studies are pleased to present

Adel Omar Sherif, Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, on “The Nile Revolution: Constitutional Promises and Challenges,” with chairs and respondents: Nazim Ali, Vicki Jackson, Baber Johansen, Chibli Mallat, Frank Michelman, and Roger Owen.

April 14, 2011,  5pm, Ames Courtroom

For coverage of this event, visit: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/04/whither-egypt/

Sponsors: Islamic Legal Studies Program (HLS), The Provost’s Fund for Interdisciplinary Researcher, CMES Workshop on the Social Sciences in Egypt, Center for Middle Eastern Studies Outreach Center, International Law Journal, and the Middle East Law Students Association.

Repression, Religion, Revolution and Rights: Uprisings in the Middle East, North Africa and Beyond

A talk by Professor Karima Bennoune, Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law

Friday April 8, 12- 1:15 p.m. in Lewis 202Karima Bennoune, professor of law at Rutgers University, has recently returned from research travel to Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia. She will discuss current human rights struggles in North Africa, especially as they affect regional women’s movements. In particular, she will explore the dynamics of local protest movements, the role of law reform in current transitions, and the difficulties involved in confronting the challenges to human rights posed by dictatorship and by fundamentalism. 

This event is co-sponsored by HLS Advocates for Human Rights, the Women’s Law Association, the Middle East Law Students Association and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.


The Goldstone Report:

The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict

With Lizzy Ratner and Phillip Weiss, editors

Moderated by Duncan Kennedy

Sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild (HLS Chapter), Middle East Law Students Association, and Justice for Palestine

Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 7pm      Austin Hall North           Harvard Law School

Please join the National Lawyers Guild, Middle East Law Students Association, and Justice for Palestine for a discussion of the landmark Goldstone Report. This event is part of a tour with the editors of the newly released book containing the entire Goldstone Report, along with essays by Rashid Khalidi, Naomi Klein, Desmond Tutu and others reflecting on the attack on Gaza, the context of the conflict, and the meaning of the report.

Lizzy Ratner has written for the New York Times, The Nation, the New York Observer, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Phillip Weiss is the co-editor of Mondoweiss and has written for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and Harper’s.

Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School.

The HLS Middle East Law Students Association presents:

Developments in Material Support Law

March 3, 2011 at 6pm, Austin North at Harvard Law School

Claude Bruderlein, Director of the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at the Harvard School of Public Health,

Susan Akram, Clinical Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law,

Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor of Law and Clinical Director of HRP at Harvard Law School, and

Maureen Clare Murphy, organizer of the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago and Managing Editor of The Electronic Intifada; subpoenaed on December 23, 2010

This panel explored the implications of the the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project and the current landscape for material support prosecutions in the US.

Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program at HLS, the Islamic Legal Studies Program at HLS, Justice for Palestine at HLS, the National Lawyers Guild – HLS Chapter, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, ACLU-HLS, and ACS.

Justice for Palestine at Harvard Law School presents:

Boycotting the Israeli Occupation?

Friday, Feb 11, 2011, 5-7 pm
Austin North, Harvard Law School

  • Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Roy Kreitner, Tel Aviv University Law School
  • Diana Buttu, Former legal advisor to Palestinian negotiators
  • Moderator and discussant: Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School

How does one respond to human rights violations? Is divestment a proper or a required reaction to Israel’s actions and policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians? Is it counter-productive? What kinds of divestment are appropriate and effective? How will it impact Israeli society and politics? How will it impact US policies?

Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program at HLS, International Legal Studies at HLS, the HLS Middle East Law Students Association, Unbound: Journal of the Legal Left, The National Lawyers Guild, HLS Chapter, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at Harvard College.

Harvard Arab Weekend Conference
November 18-21
To register, visit http://harvardarabweekend.org/ 

As part of the conference, MELSA is organizing a panel entitled: “Global Economy” in the Middle East, Nov. 19 at 6pm

Moderated by Prof. Dani Rodrick, Harvard University
Panelists include Prof. Stephen Marglin of Harvard, Prof. Jonathan Nitzan of York University, and Prof. Laura Nader of UC Berkeley.

Bell Hall – Belfer Building – Harvard Kennedy School

This panel will investigate the politics of the “global economy” and its effects on the Middle East. While the phrase “global economy” is supposedly a professional, apolitical term, the actions of international institutions and major actors in the economic arena are often motivated by political considerations. The prevalence of economic discourse in discussions of the region’s future has the potential to obscure such actions and politics. Should discussions of economic development in the region acknowledge the influence of politics on the project of development? The ultimate question the panel seeks to answer is: what are the political arrangements and economic structure required to lead the Middle East into a bright future?

Co-sponsored by Middle East Law Students Association at HLS, Arab Caucus at HKS, Islamic Legal Studies Program at HLS, and the Harvard Arab Alumni Association


The HLS Middle East Law Students Association and HLS Lambda Present
“Pre-Positional Conjunctions: Sexuality and/in Islam,”
a talk by Joseph Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University

The lecture will critique the literature that posits the conjunction of sexuality and/in Islam and analyzes the recent quest in the Western academy to establish a field to be known as “Queer Middle East Studies.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
7pm – John Chipman Gray Room – Pound Hall – Harvard Law School
Dinner will be served beginning at 6:30pm.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard Islamic Society, the Harvard Arab Alumni Association, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School & the Alliance for Justice in the Middle East at Harvard University.


The Program on Law and Social Thought at HLS Presents:

Fact-Finding in Gaza: The Making of the Goldstone Report

Welcome notes:
Ken Reeves, Council Member and long-time Mayor of the City Council of Cambridge

Christine Chinkin, Member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission and Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London

Janet Halley
, Royall Professor of Law, HLS

Friday, March 26, 2010, 4:30pm, Langdell South, Harvard Law School

HLS Justice for Palestine and the Middle East Law Students Association Present
“This Time We Went Too Far”
Truth and consequences of the Gaza invasion, a talk by Norman Finkelstein


Moderated by Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, HLS

Thursday, March 25th, 2010
7:15pm in Langdell South, Harvard Law School

Co-Sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild-HLS Chapter, the Alliance for Justice in the Middle East at Harvard University, and the Palestine Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School

MELSA will be treating its members to happy hour on Thursday, February 4th. We look forward to seeing you then!
2/4/10 6pm; Queen’s Head Pub on the Harvard campus

Searching for a Human Rights Strategy for the Arab Region, A Presentation by Bahey El Din Hassan
Monday, February 8, 2010; 12:15pm-1:30 PM; Lewis 202

Please join the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School for this event featuring Bahey El Din Hassan, the director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies in Cairo, Egypt. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies at Harvard University, the Middle East Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the Middle East Law Students Association at Harvard Law School.

A well known lecturer, Mr. Hassan is also the author of numerous articles and papers exploring issues associated with human rights and democratic transformation in the Arab Region, as well as exploring the contextual challenges facing the human rights movement. Mr. Hassan is a Member of the Board of the EuroMed Human Rights Foundation (EMHRF) and recipient of both the Annual Award of “Human Rights Monitor” (presented by the Human Rights Watch, 1993) and the Annual Journalism Award of the Egyptian Press Syndicate (1987).

Cleary Gottlieb is inviting MELSA members to a “fireside chat” that will take place on Tuesday, February 9, from 7 to 9 pm in John Chipman Gray. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Shayna Walker at swalker@cgsh.com. Dinner will be served.


pictureCarlos A. J. Rodriguez-Russo 

California State Professor As’ad AbuKhalil contrasts the Middle East policies of Presidents Bush and Obama yesterday at Harvard Law School.

MELSA featured in the Harvard Crimson: A California State professor fiercely criticized the Obama administration’s foreign policy at a Harvard Law School speech yesterday for continuing what he termed the Bush administration’s policy of seeking to solidify American power.

As’ad AbuKhalil—a politics and public administration professor at California State University Stanislaus—offered a blistering critique of the Obama administration’s record thus far, focusing on combating beliefs that Obama’s foreign policy has marked a departure from the expansionist philosophy he said was espoused by the Bush administration

As evidence, AbuKhalil pointed to similarities between Obama’s landmark speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and Bush’s speeches. He said both had a kind exterior but carried an underlying message that “Muslims would be tolerated, provided they do what they are told.”

AbuKhalil also criticized what he said was a limited range of viewpoints with influence over U.S. foreign policy. (click to read more)


The 3rd Annual Harvard Arab Weekend, Nov. 12 to 15, 2009.
The Weekend is a conference hosted by the Harvard Arab Alumni Association in collaboration with a number of student organizations at Harvard, including MELSA, aimed at promoting much-needed dialogue and a better understanding of the Middle East and North Africa.


MELSA will host a panel discussion on the impact of international trade policies on economic development in the Middle East, featuring featuring Prof. David Harvey from CUNY. Friday, Nov. 13, 2009, at 2pm in Austin North, Harvard Law School. 

David Harvey is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A leading social theorist of international standing, he received his PhD in Geography from University of Cambridge in 1961. He is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. In addition, he has been cited as the world’s most cited academic geographer and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. His work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate, most recently he has been credited with helping to bring back social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism, particularly in its neoliberal form. In 2007, Dr. Harvey was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Additionally, MELSA and the HKS Arab Caucus are organizing a panel on the impact of social media in the Middle East, Nov. 12, at 6 pm in Emerson 305, Harvard College. Panelists will examine the impact of social media, including twitter and blogs, on social and political discourse in the Middle East.

“Obama’s Middle East Policies: the Persistence of the Bush Doctrine,” a talk by Professor As`ad Abukhalil, Nov. 23, 2009 at 7 pm.

“The Indeterminacies of Occupation: Israel and the Palestinian Territories,” a talk by Aeyal Gross, Visiting Fellow at the HLS Human Rights Program and faculty at Tel Aviv University. Oct. 22, 2009.

A Lost Levant: A Reporter’s Reflections on Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq,” a talk by Anthony Shadid. April 14, 2009.
Anthony Shadid is a journalist based in the Middle East, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his coverage of the Iraq war, and author of Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War.

2009 Boston Palestine Film Festival screenings at Harvard Law School. Oct 20, 21, 26 & 27.