Program Advisors

William Alford
Harvard Law School
William AlfordHarvard Law School

William P. Alford is the Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies and the Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is a scholar of Chinese law and legal history. His books include To Steal a Book is an Elegant Offense: Intellectual Property Law in Chinese Civilization (Stanford University Press 1995), Raising the Bar: The Emerging Legal Profession in East Asia (Harvard East Asian Legal Studies 2007), 残疾人法律保障机制研究 (A Study of Legal Mechanisms to Protect Persons with Disabilities) (Huaxia Press 2008, with Wang Liming and Ma Yu’er), Prospects for the Professions in China (Routledge 2011, with William Kirby and Kenneth Winston) and Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation (Springer 2018, with Jerome Cohen and Lo Chang-fa).

Professor Alford is the founding Chair of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability which provides pro bono services on issues of disability in China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam and several other nations. He is Lead Director and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International (which serves individuals with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 jurisdictions around the world). In 2008, Special Olympics honored him for his work for persons with intellectual disabilities in China.

Professor Alford was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the University of Geneva in 2010 and has been an honorary professor or fellow at Renmin University of China, Zhejiang University, the National College of Administration, and the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Science. Among other honors are the inaugural O’Melveny & Myers Centennial Award, the Kluwer China Prize, the Qatar Pearls of Praise Award, an Abe (Japan) Fellowship, and the Harvard Law School Alumni Association Award. In 2008, he was a finalist for Harvard Law School’s Sacks-Freund Teaching Award.

Professor Alford has delivered endowed lectureships at leading universities around the world and serves on university advisory boards and the editorial boards of learned journals in several jurisdictions. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee on US-China relations, Professor Alford has been a dispute resolution panelist under the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has served as a consultant or advisor to multilateral organizations, various offices of the United States government, members of Congress, foreign governments, foundations, companies and not-for-profit organizations.

Professor Alford is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A.), the University of Cambridge (LL.B.), Yale University (graduate degrees in History and in East Asian Studies) and Harvard Law School (J.D.).

Rashid Alvi
NovoPath, Inc.
Rashid AlviNovoPath, Inc.

Rashid Alvi is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Muslim Advocates. Mr. Alvi currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer and V.P. of Operations at NovoPath, Inc. Mr. Alvi formerly served as Managing Director of the Harvard Capital Group. Prior to his post at the Harvard Capital group, Mr. Alvi was the Deputy Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP) at Harvard Law School. Prior to Harvard Capital Group and ILSP, at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, Mr. Alvi specialized in mergers and acquisitions. He then moved to Wall Street, working at Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. He subsequently joined Acro Healthcare, LLC, a privately held start-up company in the specialty pharmaceuticals industry, in an executive capacity. After helping the company grow, Mr. Alvi advised on its sale to Lincare, Inc., a public company. Following the sale of Acro, Mr. Alvi worked as a principal at a boutique business advisory firm, where he continues to consult from time to time. Mr. Alvi holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, an M.A. from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. from Binghamton University.

Chris Bavitz
Harvard Berkman Klein Center
Chris BavitzHarvard Berkman Klein Center

Christopher T. Bavitz is the WilmerHale Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is also Managing Director of HLS’s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. And, he is a Faculty Co-Director of the Berkman Klein Center. Chris teaches the Counseling and Legal Strategy in the Digital Age and Music & Digital Media seminars, and he concentrates his practice activities on intellectual property and media law (particularly in the areas of music, entertainment, and technology).

He oversees many of the Cyberlaw Clinic’s projects relating to copyright, speech, advising of startups, and the use of technology to support access to justice, and he serves as the HLS Dean’s Designate to Harvard’s Innovation Lab. Chris's research and related work at the Berkman Klein Center addresses intermediary liability and online content takedown regimes as well as regulatory, ethical, and governance issues associated with technologies that incorporate algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Naz K. Modirzadeh
Harvard Law School
Naz K. ModirzadehHarvard Law School

Naz K. Modirzadeh is the founding Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC). In May 2016, she was appointed as a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. In the Spring 2019 term, she will teach International Humanitarian Law/Laws of War, Counterterrorism and International Law, and Public International Law. At HLS PILAC, Modirzadeh is responsible for overall direction of the Program, contributing to its cutting-edge research initiatives and briefing senior decision-makers.

Sarah Thomas
Harvard University Library
Sarah ThomasHarvard University Library

Sarah Thomas joined Harvard as vice president for the Harvard Library in August 2013. In this role, she has overall responsibility for the Harvard Library in close collaboration with the Library Board, the Faculty Advisory Council and the Library Leadership Team. Thomas also serves as the University Librarian and the Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Suzanne Wones
Harvard University Library
Suzanne WonesHarvard University Library

Suzanne Wones is the Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies and Innovations at Harvard University.

Ethan Zuckerman
MIT Center for Civic Media
Ethan ZuckermanMIT Center for Civic Media

Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and an Associate Professor of the Practice at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the use of media as a tool for social change, the role of technology in international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (W. W. Norton, 2013).

With Rebecca MacKinnon, Zuckerman co-founded the international blogging community Global Voices. It showcases news and opinions from citizen media in more than 150 nations and 30 languages, publishing editions in 20 languages. Through Global Voices and through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Zuckerman is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces.

In 2000, Zuckerman founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer organization that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously, he helped found Tripod.com, one of the web's first "personal publishing" sites. Zuckerman blogs at ethanzuckerman.com/blog. He received his bachelor's degree from Williams College, and as a Fulbright scholar, studied at the University of Ghana at Legon.

Program Affiliates

Rosie Bsheer
Harvard University
Rosie BsheerHarvard University

Rosie Bsheer is an historian of the modern Middle East and Assistant Professor of History at Harvard University. Her teaching and research interests center on Arab intellectual and social movements, petro-capitalism and state formation, and the production of historical knowledge and commemorative spaces. 

Khaled El-Rouayheb
Harvard NELC Department
Khaled El-RouayhebHarvard NELC Department

Khaled El-Rouayheb is the James Richard Jewett Professor of Islamic Intellectual History and chair of the Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations department. His research interests include: the intellectual and cultural history of the Arabic-Islamic world in the Mamluk and early-Ottoman periods (1200-1800); the history of Arabic logic; Islamic theology and philosophy. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), a MA in Middle Eastern History from the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), and a PhD (2003) from the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge (United Kingdom).

His publications include three monographs: Before Homosexuality in the Arabic-Islamic World, 1500-1800 (University of Chicago Press, 2005), Relational Syllogisms & the History of Arabic Logic, 900-1900 (Brill, 2010), and Islamic Intellectual History in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has also prepared an edition of Kashf al-asrar ‘an ghawamid al-afkar, a summa of logic by Afdal al-Din al-Khunaji (d.1248) (Iranian Institute for Philosophy, 2010). He is the co-editor (along with Sabine Schmidtke of the Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton) of The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy (2016).

William A. Graham
Harvard Divinity School (emeritus)
William A. GrahamHarvard Divinity School (emeritus)

William A. Graham is Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, and Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies (Faculty of Arts and Sciences). Graham served as Dean of Harvard Divinity School from 2002 to 2012, when he stepped down to return to research and teaching. His scholarly work has focused on early Islamic religious history and textual traditions (Qur’an and Hadith), and on topics in the global history of religion. His book Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam was awarded the American Council of Learned Societies History of Religions Prize in 1978. He is the author of Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion (1987) and Islamic and Comparative Religious Studies(2010). He has co-authored three books and is also the author of numerous articles and reviews. He is a summa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds honorary doctorates from UNC and Lehigh University.

Baber Johansen
Harvard Divinity School (emeritus)
Baber JohansenHarvard Divinity School (emeritus)

Baber Johansen was appointed Professor of Islamic Religious Studies at Harvard Divinity School in 2005. Prior to his appointment, he served as Directeur d’études at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Centre d’étude des normes juridiques), Paris (1995–2005), and Professor for Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin (1972–1995). In 2006 he was appointed an affiliated professor at Harvard Law School and acting director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program from 2006 to 2010. In 2007 he was affiliated with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and from July 2010 to June 2013, he was the director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is also a faculty associate of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and a member of its Executive Committee.

Ousmane Kane
Harvard Divinity School
Ousmane KaneHarvard Divinity School

Ousmane Kane, a scholar of Islamic studies and comparative and Islamic politics, joined Harvard Divinity School in July 2012 as the first Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society at HDS. Since 2002, he was an associate professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the African Studies Association of North America and the Council for the Development of Social and Economic Research in Africa. Kane studies the history of Islamic religious institutions and organizations since the eighteenth century, and he is engaged in documenting the intellectual history of Islam in Africa.

Gary King
Harvard University
Gary KingHarvard University

Gary King is the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University -- one of 22 with the title of University Professor, Harvard's most distinguished faculty position. He is based in the Department of Government (in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences) and serves as Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. King develops and applies empirical methods in many areas of social science research, focusing on innovations that span the range from statistical theory to practical application.

Cemal Kafadar
Harvard History Department
Cemal KafadarHarvard History Department

Cemal Kafadar is the Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University. Prof. Kafadar is interested in the social and cultural history of the Middle East and southeastern Europe in the late medieval/early modern era. He teaches courses on Ottoman history, urban space, travel, popular culture, history and cinema. His latest publications include “How Dark is the History of the Night, How Black the Story of Coffee, How Bitter the Tale of Love: the Changing Measure of Leisure and Pleasure in Early Modern Istanbul” and “Evliya Celebi in Dalmatia: an Ottoman Traveler’s Encounters with the Arts of the Franks.” 

Asim Ijaz Khwaja
Harvard Kennedy School
Asim Ijaz KhwajaHarvard Kennedy School

Asim Ijaz Khwaja is the Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Co-Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD). His areas of interest include economic development, finance, education, political economy, institutions, and contract theory/mechanism design. His research combines extensive fieldwork, rigorous empirical analysis, and microeconomic theory to answer questions that are motivated by and engage with policy. His recent work ranges from understanding market failures in emerging financial markets to examining the private education market in low-income countries. He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar in 2009 to pursue research on how religious institutions impact individual beliefs. Khwaja received BS degrees in economics and in mathematics with computer science from MIT and a PhD in economics from Harvard.

Tarek Masoud
Harvard Kennedy School
Tarek MasoudHarvard Kennedy School

Tarek Masoud is the Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of International Relations at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on the role of religion in the Muslim world’s political development. He is the author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2014), the co-author of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (Oxford University Press, 2015), as well as of several articles and book chapters. He is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy, and the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and the Paul and Daisy Soros foundation, among others. He holds an AB from Brown and a PhD from Yale, both in political science.

Payam Mohseni
Harvard Weatherhead Center
Payam MohseniHarvard Weatherhead Center

Dr. Payam Mohseni is the Director of the Project on Shi'ism and Global Affairs at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and manages Visions, Harvard's premier online publication on all matters pertaining to global Shi'ism. He is also a Lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University and served as a Lecturer on Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. At Harvard, he teaches on Iranian and Middle East politics as well as Islam and is a multiple recipient of the Harvard Excellence in Teaching award. Dr. Mohseni is also an active term member at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York and a faculty affiliate of the Program in Islamic Law at the Harvard Law School (HLS) and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Harvard University.

Dr. Mohseni’s research focuses on comparative political institutions, Iranian foreign and domestic politics, Shi'a thought and identity, Islam and sectarian conflict in the Middle East, and the politics of authoritarianism and hybrid regimes cross-regionally. In particular, his research has contributed to the field of political institutions and comparative regime studies, specifically regarding the conceptualization of hybrid regimes and tutelary institutions, and on theoretical questions of authoritarian resurgence and democracy resistance, the institutional impact of ideology and religion, and the political economy of development in non-democratic settings. His latest research also explores the evolving contemporary dynamics of interconnected Shi’a political movements in the Middle East, the role of non-state actors in the region, and Middle East security.

Dr. Mohseni previously served as the Director of the Iran Project at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and co-chaired Harvard’s Iran Working Group with Professor Graham Allison which hosted prominent U.S. and international scholars and policy-makers focusing on the Iranian nuclear negotiations and regional issues. He was additionally the Editor-in-Chief of the Belfer Center’s Special Initiative Iran Matters, an online publication on contemporary Iranian affairs. Dr. Mohseni also co-chaired Harvard’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies Study Group on the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe from 2014 to 2016. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Harvard Belfer Center's International Security Program, a Junior Research Fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, and a member of the Iran Study Group at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, D.C. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University, an M.A. in Conflict, Security, and Development from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, and a B.A. in Development Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Roy Mottahedeh
Harvard University (emeritus)
Roy MottahedehHarvard University (emeritus)

Roy Parviz Mottahedeh is the Gurney Professor of History, Emeritus, at Harvard University.  He served as the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University from 1987 to 1990 and founded the Harvard Middle East and Islamic Review as a medium for Harvard students and teachers to publish their work. He was elected a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and has served as a series editor for several academic publishers. In 1994 he was appointed Gurney Professor of History. Together with Angeliki Laiou he co-edited The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World (2001). His book Lessons in Islamic Jurisprudence, published in 2003, studies the philosophy of Islamic law as taught in Shi’ite seminaries. Professor Mottahedeh received an honorary degree from the University of Lund, Sweden, in 2006. He served as Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard from 2006 to 2011.

Professor Mottahedeh is the author of numerous articles that demonstrate his wide range of interests from the Abbasid period in the eighth century to Islamic revival movements of the present day. One of his most widely distributed articles, which has been translated into many languages, was his critique of Huntington’s theory of the clash of civilizations. Professor Mottahedeh’s other publications consider such diverse topics as the transmission of learning in the Muslim world, the social bonds that connected people in the early Islamic Middle East, the theme of “wonders” in The Thousand and One Nights, the concept of jihad in the early Islamic period, and perceptions of Persepolis among later Muslims.

Shady Nasser
Harvard NELC Department
Shady NasserHarvard NELC Department

Professor Nasser is a Program in Islamic Law Faculty Affiliate. He teaches Arabic literature and Islamic Civilizations courses. His previous posting was as a University Lecturer in Classical Arabic studies at the University of Cambridge (UK), in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Shady started his PhD at Harvard University in Arabic and Islamic studies under the supervision of Wolfhart Heinrichs. He completed his PhD in 2011. From 2009-2012 he was a senior lector of Arabic and the coordinator of the Arabic language program at Yale University. In 2013, he was appointed University Lecturer in Classical Arabic studies at the University of Cambridge (UK).

Aaron Spevack
Visiting Scholar, NELC
Aaron SpevackVisiting Scholar, NELC

Aaron Spevack is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Near Eastern Languages and Civilization Department. specializes in Islamic Intellectual History, with an emphasis on 13th-19th-century law, theology, and Sufism. He obtained a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Intellectual History from Boston University and an ALB from Harvard University’s Extension Division. He also studied Jazz performance and composition at the New England Conservatory of Music and has extensive experience performing Jazz, Hip-hop, and Sufi music from Morocco, Turkey, and the Levant. He has published two books and a number of articles on Islamic intellectual history. His book The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of al-Bajuri was published by SUNY Press in 2014; through a study of various commentaries written by the 19th-century Egyptian scholar Ibrahim al-Bajuri, he challenges popular theories of intellectual decline and anti-rationalism. One of his more recent works focuses on the coalescence of Northwest African and Persian theological and philosophical thought in 13th-19th century Islamic education, especially its reception in Egypt's al-Azhar University.

Zahra Takhshid
Harvard Law School
Zahra TakhshidHarvard Law School

Zahra Takhshid is the Reginald Lewis Fellow for Law Teaching at Harvard Law School. Her scholarly interests include torts, contracts, comparative defamation law and privacy, and Islamic law. In her doctorate dissertation, she analyzed the role of public policy and unconscionability in negligence lawsuits that involve the express assumption of risk defense. She is currently working on a paper which re-examines the unconscionability defense pertaining to arbitration clauses and offers a new perspective. Zahra received her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and LL.M. in Private and Islamic Law from the University of Tehran School of Law and Political Science. She then pursued her second LL.M. degree at the George Washington University Law School. Zahra earned her Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree from Fordham Law School. At Fordham, she also served as the Islamic Law Fellow at the Institute on Religion, Law, & Lawyer’s Work. She is also a passionate advocate of youth education and has taught and worked with middle school and high school students in Washington, D.C., and New York City. In addition, Zahra writes Op-Eds for several Iranian newspapers on current comparative legal issues. She speaks Farsi as her native language and is fluent in English. She is proficient in French, Arabic, and the programming language Swift.

Malika Zeghal
Harvard NELC Department
Malika ZeghalHarvard NELC Department

Malika Zeghal is the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in contemporary Islamic thought and life at Harvard and studies religion through the lens of Islam and power. She is particularly interested in Islamist movements and in the institutionalization of Islam in the Muslim world, with special focus on the Middle East and North Africa in the postcolonial period and on Muslim diasporas in North America and Western Europe. She has more general interests in the circulation and role of religious ideologies in situations of conflict and/or dialogue. She has published a study of central religious institutions in Egypt, Gardiens de l’Islam, (1996), and a volume on Islam and politics in Morocco, Islamism in Morocco: Religion, Authoritarianism, and Electoral Politics (2008), which has won the French Voices-Pen American Center Award. She is currently working on a book on states, secularity, and Islam in the contemporary Arab world.