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Upcoming Events & Announcements:

Fall 2021 Symposium: Afghanistan - What's at Stake: National Security, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law

The Cardozo International & Comparative Law Review is pleased to host a virtual symposium on Thursday, October 21st, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm EDT to discuss the rule of law crisis in Afghanistan. Panelists will discuss the history of the Afghan legal system and what were the obstacles to development. Is democracy a prerequisite to a rule of law system? How, if at all, did Afghanistan’s 2004 Constitution change the legal landscape? Panelists will also discuss peacebuilding strategies and whether international law can be used as leverage over the Taliban, which is now in control of the government. If the Taliban thwarts monitoring efforts about suspected human rights violations, what can be done by the international community as a response?


Please register for our virtual panel here


Join us for a virtual panel with Mehdi Hakimi, Executive Director at the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School; Kimberley Motley, International Human Rights lawyer who has worked in Afghanistan since 2008; S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana, a research affiliate at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; Saeeq Shajjan, Founder and Managing Partner at Shajjan & Associates; moderated by Deborah Pearlstein, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for  Constitutional Democracy at Cardozo Law School. 


Contact: Cameron Kellett, Cardozo International & Comparative Law Review Symposia Editor, 



Mehdi Hakimi is the Executive Director of the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School and Lecturer-in-Law at Stanford University. He develops and implements projects in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.  As Lecturer in Law, he also teaches classes on comparative law, law and development, and legal education at Stanford.  He was the former Chair of the Law Department at the American University of Afghanistan.  Hakimi has worked with various institutions on international development and human rights issues including The Asia Foundation and Yale Law School.  He has served as a subject matter expert on comparative and foreign law issues in various jurisdictions including major country guidance cases in Europe and North America.  Hakimi has advised international organizations, governments, academic and research institutions, and global law firms on, inter alia, the Afghan legal system.  His scholarship is published or forthcoming in the California Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Stanford Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Georgetown Journal of International Law​, and Northwestern Journal of Human Rights, among others.  He has authored or co-authored multiple books on the laws of Afghanistan.  His work has been translated into Farsi/Dari.  Hakimi has been cited and quoted in judicial decisions and litigation briefs, government reports and policy documents, academic literature, and popular media outlets.    




Dr.S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana, is an affiliate GIWPS Researcher. She previously served as Associate Director and Assistant Professor of the Practice at Georgetown University’s MA Program in Conflict Resolution. Before coming to Georgetown University she served as a consultant for the Religion and Peacebuilding Program at the United States Institute of Peace, and as an Assistant Professor in the field of Peace and Conflict Resolution at the School of International Service at American University, Washington D.C. She is also one of the founding members of Salam Institute for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organization for research, education, and practice on issues related to conflict resolution, nonviolence, and development (2005-2012), where she served as the Associate Director. Dr. Kadayifci-Orellana received her PhD from American University’s School of International Service in Washington DC in 2002 with a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis from University of Kent in Canterbury, England. Dr. Kadayifci-Orellana’s has authored “Standing On an Isthmus: Islamic Narratives of War and Peace in the Palestinian Territories” and co-authored the edited the volume, “Anthology on Islam and Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam: Precept and Practice.” She has also written various book chapters and journal articles on Muslim women’s peacebuilding initiatives, mediation and peace building, religion and conflict resolution, interfaith dialogue, Islamic approaches to war and peace, and Islam and nonviolence.



Saeeq Shajjan founded SHAJJAN & ASSOCIATES in 2011. Under Shajjan’s leadership, SHAJJAN & ASSOCIATES achieved recognition for its services not only in Afghanistan but also abroad. With over 16 years of hands-on experience, Shajjan’s practice area mainly covers real estate law, commercial law and contract law. He also possesses expertise in corporate law, civil law, family law, criminal law, property law, citizenship law, constitutional law, Islamic law as well as banking, taxation, labor and employment and human rights. S​​hajjan has worked with clients in and beyond Afghanistan. He has advised international clients and leading foreign law firms on the applicability of the laws of Afghanistan. He has represented cases and provided expert testimonies on Afghan law related matters before the courts in the United States and the United Kingdom. He has represented several clients in international arbitration cases as a co-counsel. And he has advised different foreign diplomatic missions and advised and represented various international organizations and contractors before courts and administrative agencies in Afghanistan. Shajjan is member of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association; registered arbitrator with the Afghanistan Center for Commercial Dispute Resolution of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries and chairman of arbitration and dispute resolution commission of Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce. He is also board member of Public- Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, PARSA Afghanistan and interim member of AmCham Afghanistan.



Kimberley Motley is a practicing attorney and litigator since 2003 and has worked in Afghanistan since 2008. She is founder of Motley Legal Services and cofounder to Motley Consulting International. At the present, she is the first foreigner who has ever litigated cases in Afghanistan’s Criminal Courts and has a strong litigious practice focusing on criminal, commercial, contract, civil and employment law matters. Prior to opening Motley Legal, she worked as a Justice Advisor with the US Department of State funded project in Afghanistan. In this capacity, she was given the remit to raise the capacity of Afghan Defense Attorneys and has trained hundreds of Afghan Attorneys throughout the country.  She has successfully handled many criminal and civil cases in Afghanistan. Of note, she successfully litigated a case involving a British citizen in Afghanistan in the new formed Anti Corruption Courts, she has had many legal successes in Afghanistan which included achieving an early release through the Presidential Office for a client, successfully securing the exit of several foreigners who were victim to counterfeit visas, to name a few. She has spoken worldwide on her experience and has been a guest speaker to the US Embassy, Marquette Law, Emory Law, Charlotte School of Law, and UNICEF.  Her work has been reported by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, Reuters, the Today Show, Weekly Update, ABC Australia and the London Times to name a few. She received her J.D. from Marquette Law School and received a B.S. and Master’s of Science degree in the area of Criminal Justice from the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin.



Moderated by Deborah Pearlstein, professor of Law and co-director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy at the Cardozo Law School. Prof. Pearlstein's areas of expertise are constitutional law, international human rights, international humanitarian law, international law, national security and terrorism, and U.S. foreign relations law. 

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