Bio: Banafsheh Akhlaghi
Banafsheh Akhlaghi is a pioneering civil and human rights attorney, educator, best selling author and social entrepreneur. She started her career as a professor of Constitutional Law at the John F. Kennedy School of Law. She founded the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the human rights and dignity of Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (MEMSA) peoples, which emerged as one of the lead advocates of human rights for the MEMSA community in the post-9/11 era. Akhlaghi has worked as a consultant with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and is the former director of the West Region for Amnesty International. Her practice area today also includes intellectual property rights and immigration defense.
She has won several awards for her work, including the Fred Korematsu Civil Rights Award and was nominated for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Akhlaghi was named “Top 100 Leading Lawyers in California” and “Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California” by the Daily Journal. She was also nominated for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2008 and received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives the same year.
Keynote speaker & panelist at over 300 public speaking engagements. Notably: Congressional Informal Hearings, Amnesty International, ACLU national conferences & multiple educational & governmental institutions. On-going advisor to various news media sources including CNN, NPR, BBC, CBC, AP, New York Times and Al Jazeera English providing commentary and analysis on human rights and national security matters.
Akhlaghi received her B.A. from the University of San Francisco, with attendance at Cambridge University, and her J.D. from Tulane University. She is a member of the California and San Francisco Bar Associations and a Commission Member of the State Bar of California.