Harvard University’s affiliate Law Review has elected Egyptian-American Hassaan Shahawy as its 135th President, Harvard Law Today said in a statement on Friday.
Born in Los Angeles to an Egyptian Muslim family, Shahawy, 26, is believed to be Harvard Law Review’s first Muslim president in its 134-year history.
The Harvard Law Review, one of the most prestigious US law journals, is an entirely student-run publication with the largest circulation of any law journal in the world. It is published monthly from November through June and was founded in 1887 by future Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
Shahawy told Reuters that he hoped his election represented “legal academia’s growing recognition of the importance of diversity, and perhaps its growing respect for other legal traditions.”
According to Harvard Law Today, Shahawy graduated from Harvard College in 2016 with an A.B. in History and Near Eastern Studies. He then attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to pursue a doctorate in Oriental Studies, and alongside that studied Islamic law traditionally both in the UK and in the Muslim world.
He has also been involved in direct services work with refugee populations and incarcerated people.
“Coming from a community routinely demonised in American public discourse, I hope this represents some progress, even if small and symbolic,” Reuters quoted Shahawy as saying.
Shahawy’s predecessor Michaeljit Sandhu hailed him in statements to the Harvard Law Today in which he described the Egyptian-American as “astoundingly smart and unceasingly modest”.
“His collaborative approach to leadership, deep commitment to engagement across difference, and excellent judgment will serve the Review extremely well during this extraordinary time. I am so excited to see what he and all the editors in Volume 135 do next,” said Sandhu.