Asma Jahangir

2009 Carol Hoffmann Collins Global Scholar-in-Residence

Asma Jahangir, a lawyer and prominent human rights activist from Pakistan, was on campus from October 19-23 as the 2009 Carol Hoffmann Collins Global Scholar-in-Residence. She is a founding member and chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Throughout her career she has defended the rights of Pakistani women, religious minorities, and children. In 1980, Jahangir, and her sister Hina Jilani, formed the first law firm set up by women in Pakistan. Despite numerous threats to her life, she continues to fight for a secular civil society and equal rights under the law for women and religious minorities. She has served as the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary, or summary executions. and later as the U.N. rapporteur for the freedom of religion or belief. Jahangir is a member of the board of the International Crisis Group. In recognition of her services in the field of human rights, she was awarded the American Bar Association International Human Rights Award in 1992 and the Martin Ennals Award and the Ramon Magasay Award in 1995. A fearless defender of civil rights, Jahangir was a prominent figure in the 2007 lawyers' movement in Pakistan to restore the chief justice of the Supreme Court. William Dalrymple, writing in the New Yorker, calls Jahangir Pakistan’s “most visible and celebrated—as well as most vilified—human rights lawyer.”

Jahangir’s public talk, "Building Democracy: Pakistan-U.S. Relations," was held on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium.

On Tuesday, October 20, Jahangir led a faculty seminar on “Civil Society in South Asia.”