NEWARK, NJ -Professor Karima Bennoune’s work on behalf of human rights law and international women’s rights has placed her in harm’s way in countries from Afghanistan to Thailand. It has established her as a highly respected author, lecturer, teacher and scholar whose research is furthering human rights around the world while breaking new ground in academia.
Her work now has also won her recognition as the 2010/2011 Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Scholar at Rutgers University, Newark. Chancellor Steven J. Diner will present the award March 3 during the fourth annual Distinguished Research Lecture. Bennoune will discuss: “A More Courageous Politics: Muslims Confront Fundamentalism.” The free public lecture and reception begin at 4 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Chancellor’s award, and profoundly grateful for the support that Rutgers has provided for my research,” said Bennoune. “For me, this award serves as much-appreciated recognition of the significance of the issues my research has focused on—the struggles of progressive people of Muslim heritage against both religious extremism and discrimination, combating terrorism in ways that are compatible with human rights and global equity for women.”
Bennoune is professor of law and Arthur Dickson Scholar, as well as director of the Global Legal Studies Center, at the Rutgers School of Law-Newark. Bennoune teaches courses in public international law, terrorism and international law, international women’s human rights, and international protection of human rights.
Prior to coming to the Rutgers law school in 2002, Bennoune was a legal advisor to Amnesty International, making field missions to Afghanistan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Pakistan and Bangladesh, offering legal advice and analysis as well as organizing international conferences on torture, armed conflict, and women’s human rights.
The professor has served as a consultant to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, the Soros Foundation, the International Council on Human Rights Policy, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as a member of the Council of the network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws, and as a member of an expert group on counter-terrorism strategies, human rights and international law, convened by the Dutch Foreign Ministry and Leiden University’s Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies.
Bennoune writes and lectures extensively on religious extremism, women’s human rights and counter-terrorism, especially in Muslim contexts – all through the perspective of an Arab-American woman who spent some of her childhood in the Muslim world. Her scholarly writing has been widely cited, including by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women. Her 2008 article, “Terror/Torture,” was designated one of the top 10 global justice law review articles of that year by Oxford University Press.
After the September 11 attacks, Bennoune lectured across the country about the problems of fundamentalism, the modern history of Afghanistan and the United States’ role in that history, international law and terrorism, and anti-Arab racism. She has just returned from carrying out field research in a range of Muslim majority countries including Algeria, Niger and Pakistan, where she documented the underreported work of those challenging fundamentalism.
In 2007, she became the first Arab-American to be honored with the Derrick Bell Award by the Section on Minority Groups of the Association of American Law Schools.
The Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award honors professors who have done exceptional scholarly work on a subject of fundamental intellectual importance, according to Diner. Another requirement is that recipients demonstrate the ability to speak about their research, no matter how technical it might be, in terms understandable to a broad general audience.
Bennoune received the bachelor of arts degree from Brown University in 1988, and in May 1994 received her juris doctor (with honors), her master of arts degree in Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan.