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Egyptian-American Rhodes Scholar Becomes Harvard Law Review’s First Muslim President

February 9, 2021
Hassaan Shahawy

Egyptian-American law student Hassaan Shahawy has made history over the past week as the first Muslim to ever be elected president of the Harvard Law Review, one of the world’s best and most widely circulated legal publications. He will serve as the prestigious law journal’s 135th president, according to Harvard Law Today.

The 26-year-old incoming Harvard Law Review president said he hoped his appointment would represent “legal academia’s growing recognition of the importance of diversity, and perhaps its growing respect for other legal traditions.”

Shahawy also reportedly told Reuters that “coming from a community routinely demonized in American public discourse, I hope this represents some progress, even if small and symbolic.”

With this historic appointment, Shahawy joins the ranks of some of the finest legal minds in American history, including former US President Barack Obama, who became the publication’s first African American president in 1990, as well as late US Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia who both served as Harvard Law Review editors.

Shahawy was born in Los Angeles to a Muslim Egyptian family. In 2016, he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Near Eastern Studies, before earning a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He is currently pursuing a JD degree at Harvard Law School.

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