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Azadeh Shahshahani, BA, 2001

Field of Study: BA in AAPTIS, Minor in History

Graduation Year: 2001

Azadeh has worked for a number of years in the Southeast to protect the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities. She previously served as National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU of Georgia. Azadeh is a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. Through the NLG, Azadeh has participated in international delegations, including to post-revolutionary Tunisia and Egypt, a delegation focused on the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, and election monitoring delegations to Venezuela and Honduras. She has also served as a member of the jury in people’s tribunals on Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil. Azadeh also serves as Chair of Georgia Detention Watch, Co-chair of the US Human Rights Network Working Group on National Security, and on the Advisory Council of the American Association of Jurists. She is the author or editor of several human rights reports, including a 2017 report titled “Imprisoned Justice: Inside Two Georgia Immigrant Detention Centers” as well as law review articles and book chapters focused on racial profiling, immigrants’ rights, and surveillance of Muslim-Americans. Her work has also appeared in the Guardian, the Nation, MSNBC, Aljazeera, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Huffington Post, among others. Azadeh received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School where she was Article Editor for The Michigan Journal of International Law. She also has a Master’s in Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of Michigan. Azadeh is the recipient of the 2016 Georgia WAND Peace and Justice Award, American Immigration Lawyers Association 2012 Advocacy Award, and the University of Georgia Law School 2009 Equal Justice Foundation Public Interest Practitioner Award. She has been recognized as one of 100 Influential Georgia Muslims and as an attorney who is “On the Rise” by the Fulton County Daily Report.  In 2016, Azadeh was chosen by the Mundo Hispanico Newspaper as an Outstanding Person of the Year for her activism on behalf of the Latino community and defending the rights of immigrants in Georgia.

About her experience with the Department of Near Eastern Studies, Azadeh says, "I had a transformative experience at the University of Michigan Near Eastern Department which changed my career path altogether. Under the mentorship of Professor Kathryn Babayan, I was encouraged to follow my heart and engage in human rights work on behalf of Muslim, Middle Eastern, and immigrant communities. I wake up every day grateful about the work I do and aware of the fact that it was my experience at Michigan that set me on this path.”