Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor, International Human Rights Clinic
Associate Director, Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World
Salma Waheedi is Associate Director of the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World and a Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic. She is an international human rights lawyer, development economist, and law reform expert with extensive experience in the Middle East and North Africa.
Salma practices law in the areas of gender justice, labor rights, minority rights, and civil and political rights, with a primary interest in the Arab and Muslim World. At the International Human Rights Clinic, she designs and supervises legal advocacy projects in which students engage with local, regional, and global movements to advance social justice and accountability. She has advised and advocated on many issues, including family law reform, gender-based violence, child marriage, gender discrimination in social welfare policies, criminal law reform, and justice sector reform.
Salma’s research interests include comparative constitutional law, family law, and Islam and human rights. She held a Visiting Fellowship at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School in 2016-2017 and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Arab Association of Constitutional Law, the region’s first network of constitutional experts. She is also an affiliate of the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Before joining Harvard Law School, Salma practiced in the areas of corporate compliance, corporate accountability litigation, and immigration and refugee law, including at Baker McKenzie, Chicago’s United African Organization, and the Transnational Development Clinic at Yale Law School.
Prior to studying law, Salma worked as a management consultant, specializing in organizational development, institutional reform, and capacity building. In her native country Bahrain, she held senior positions at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, where she advised on economic and social policies and led economic reform initiatives focused on government efficiency, business regulatory reform, and supporting small businesses. Earlier at the Bahrain Ministry of Finance, she served as trade negotiator and lead liaison on several agreements, including Bahrain’s Free Trade Agreement with the United States. She also held positions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, where she engaged in Middle East economic and political research and analysis.
Salma holds a JD from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, an MA in International Law and Government from Georgetown University, an MA in International Affairs from American University, and a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the New York State Bar.
ARTICLES & CHAPTERS
“Litigating Women’s Rights in Gulf Monarchial Systems,” Arab Law Quarterly (Special Issue on Authoritarianism and the Law, Nathan Brown & Mai T. El-Sadany, eds.) (forthcoming 2022).
“Constitutional Courts and the Exercise of Constitutional Authority in Arab Gulf Countries,” Al-Abhath, American University of Beirut (forthcoming 2022).
“Islamic Shari’a in the Legal Orders of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait” in Constitutional Review in the Middle East and North Africa, (Anja Schoeller-Schletter, ed., 2021).
“Guarantees and Challenges of Judicial Independence: The Constitutional Courts of Kuwait and Bahrain as Case Studies” in Constitutional Review in the Middle East and North Africa (Anja Schoeller-Schletter ed., 2021).
“The Ambitions of Muslim Family Law Reform” in Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 41 (2018) Co-authors: Kristen Stilt and Swathi Gandhavadi Griffin.
“Judicial Review in the Context of Constitutional Islam” in Comparative Judicial Review (Erin F. Delaney & Rosalind Dixon eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018) Co-author: Kristen Stilt.
“Constitutions of Arab Gulf States: Between the Welfare State and the Democratic State” (Arabic) in Gulf 2013: The Constant and the Changing (Omar Al-Shehabi ed., Gulf Center for Development Policies, 2013).
“Mauritania: Fragility of a New Democracy” in Arab Reform Bulletin (December 2007), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
REPORTS & BRIEFS
Thematic Report on Muslim Family Law and Muslim Women’s Rights in Mauritius (Submission to 71st CEDAW Review Session) (Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, October 2018)
Mapping of Muslim Family Laws Globally: Positive Development and Country Overviews (Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, March 2018)
Joint Report on Article 16, Muslim Family Law, and Muslim Women’s Rights in Kuwait (Submission to 68th CEDAW Review Session) (Abolish Article 153, Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, November 2017).
Thematic Report on Article 16, Muslim Family Law, and Muslim Women’s Rights in Oman (Submission to 68th CEDAW Review Session) (Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, October 2017).
Thematic Report on Article 16 & Muslim Family Law: Nigeria (Submission to 67th CEDAW Review Session) (Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, July 2017).
Fulfilling U.S. Commitment to Refugee Resettlement: Protecting Refugees, Preserving National Security & Building the U.S. Economy through Refugee Admissions (Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, May 2017).
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace & Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (March 2008).